Winter has been particularly punishing to evergreens these past two years.
Last winter severe winds during subzero temperatures severely damaged or killed yews. This winter the heavy snow coupled with rain at Christmas froze a layer over the spreading and some upright conifers crushing them early in the season. Subsequent snows with no January or February thaws added more weight to those already smushed disfiguring many.
While spreading a granulated fertilizer throughout my extensive gardens yesterday, I was disappointed to see so many arborvitaes damaged. Some will resurrect themselves without disfigurements…especially the Rhinegolds and Hetz, by my Woodwards look rough.
The junipers, with the exception of the beautiful Blue Arrow, survived beautifully.
What is one to do with damaged evergreens?
Again, one must review what the role the plant played in the landscape. Most landscaping in Minnesota is planted as cliche……”cookie cutter”. Plants are placed as if there are four rules to successful landscaping regardless of the surroundings.
Landscape gardening throughout its history is supposed to be an art form. What is to be done regarding damaged plants, should depend upon whether the plant still has value…… Is it damaged beyond survival? Is the ovate or global form now compromised from the winter damage? Can the plant be easily transplanted to a location on the grounds where an irregular form might be more interesting?
If the damaged plant is a pyramidal, it would have been smart to tie the upright growing branches loosely together at about ever five foot interval generally. We use parachute nylon string….olive drab or black…whichever is available. It lasts forever. There is no need to bore into the tree. Simply loop one strand of nylon string around all of the upright branches but mixed into the foliage, so as not to be seen, and tie the string end to end.
If the tree or shrub is destroyed beyond redemption, one can always cut the plant out.
I have a twenty-five year old Woodward (global) arborvitae which for the fourth time in its history has been badly pummelled by winter, losing a section here, a branch there, and again, later, another, each time destroying its original, natural globe form. By pruning I had to abandon it’s natural globe form. There was no choice for the plant to remain global> It was too severely disfigured. Yet, again by pruning, I managed to create one of the most interesting specimens on my grounds……..
…..until this spring. The winter just passed has done it in, breaking the major trunk which I had made so attractive. That’s life. I had twenty five years of service from that Woodward. How can I complain?
On the other hand, I had grown a Waneta Plum years ago. The fruit was delicious, the flowers incredibly fragrant, and the small tree grew gnarled….which I helped along. It was a masterpiece to look at for twenty years plus. Over one winter it died. Losing that plum hurt. I am still mad at it. I felt it betrayed me.
The most important landscape plants in Minnesota are the hardy evergreen conifers. You can figure out why for yourself. For most of the ground junipers the older they get the more beautiful they become….especially with clever pruning. You can help them develop terrific character.
Most Minnesotans are not familiar with their grounds. Landscaping is “in the way”. Caring for lawn is easy…..Yet, many homeowners hire out lawn care to a company like Masterpiece Landacaping, Ltd. We are grateful for it helps keep us in business.
We provide excellent lawn care and are exceptionally experienced in corrective and artistic pruning as well as plant placement which are at the core of the beautful Minnesota home grounds.
Call us for consultation or for landscaping services at 952-933-5777. Or , have a question?…Give us a call.
In the meantime spread some 10-10-10 granulated fertilizer around your favorite shrubs, evergreen or otherwise withing the next couple weeks. Let’s not use an herbicide with it, however. Generally, keep weed control limited to lawn care.