at least thus far fellow Northlanders…..

Previous to yesterday the vast majority of my grounds was bare of snow.   Where snow did exist, there was no accumulation, but only a dusting here or there in areas beyond the reach of the Sun.

As most of you readers know, I am thoroughly in favor of our Twin Cities moving into Horticultural zone 5.   In some grounds we are almost there, but msot of those grounds are in the Twin Cities themselves.

Last year we didn’t have a January either exactly.   As you remember we had the abundance of snow fall on November 13.   The ‘dump[ reached 32 inches most places on my grounds.   December came and went, dumping more ‘on the place below”.   And January came and went without any January thaw at all.  

It was good for our snow removal business for we could remove the endless number of ice dams on Twin City roofs.   Suddenly, mid February,  warm breezes, the tantalizing kind feigning Spring, ruined the money-making.   We had to wait another six weeks before the landscape gardening season began in earnest. 

Are there troubles assoicated  with a winter without a January?  

You bet there are.   Last evening the temperature hit our season low, zero degrees Fahrenheit after a month of March weather, but March weather without March snow…..the heavy wet kind. 

Some folks noticed tulip foliage already beginning to pierce the soil line on the south locations of their  house.    Although it is possible some Dutch bulbs might be already lost due to this warm and snowless winter followed by this sudden deep freeze,  it depend upon what temperatures are ‘on the horizon’. 

If there is an extended period of below zero temperatures   without any snow cover, any damage to  tulips will be nothing compared to what might happen to countless far  more valuable woody plant materials of borderline hardiness…..such as the Emperor Japanese Maples,  Forsythia blooms (although nearly all Forsythia shrubs themselves are hardy in the Twin Cities, the exposed wood of the Black Beauty Elderberry,  dieback also on many smokebushes to the ground, although their roots probably will survive.   

Young newly planted hemlocks, yews, yellow foliaged Japanese yews especially might be hard hit, depending upon the quality of the soil in which they have been  planted. 

Dwarf ginkgos might be killed.   Some of those other plants you spent $200 per unit for are also likely to be victimized.

As a rule “dwarfs’ of both deciduous and evergreen shrubs or trees are less hardy than their standard parents.   The ones most susceptible to winter kill from snowlessness are those from parents hardy only to zone 4, and most woody plants of horticultural zone 5. 

What to do to avoid the loss  of some of your favorite more sensitive plants?  

If your landscape garden or garden  border, or flower garden bear  no winter mulch added to the soil around their crowns already and you haven’t a bag or two or twenty filled with oak leaves, unchopped, you might think about applying rags or old sheets around the crowns of the plants possibly endangered.  

Tree  and  Intersectional  peonies might be susceptible to damage…..which reminds me as I write this article I have forgotten   to tend to them thus far.

So I have to run folks!  These peonies demand my attention!