Passionate About Plants
Paul looks at how to repair winter damage to the garden
At last the weather improves, if only slowly, and we can venture warily into our gardens, looking for the damage the worst winter for years has inflicted on our garden plants. You will be very lucky if you have escaped the ravages of snow and the freezing temperatures. The heavy snow falls may well have protected from the cold frosty nights, but the weight can cause serious physical damage.
Snow and Ice Damage.
This can appear as either physical damage to the structure of plants as often seen on conifers and other evergreens or as leaf damage turning them brown due to a mixture of the lack of light and the cold. The remedy for broken damaged branches will be careful removal, you might need to reshape the whole bush, if you are at all worried then seek professional help. If you have damaged leaves, but the stems are strong and healthy the new growth in time will cover the unsightly leaves. Some evergreen plants can be hard pruned such as hypericum Hidcote. However if the leaves are wilting and the stems are going weak it might be worth while checking the stems nearer the ground. Young last years growth can be blackened and damaged beyond repair whilst older growth can suffer from bark splitting. Bark splitting is usually terminal and is easily seen as not only does it split, it lifts from the wood. It is caused by hard frosts freezing the sap and causing irreparable damage. The remedy for this is plant removal and replacement.
Tender and Grey Leaved Plants.
For several years now we have been growing more and more tender shrubs. These non hardy plants have survived well with our recent mild winters; so we have been lulled into a false sense of security, planting more and more of these kind of plants in our gardens. Of course this has not been helped by the celebrities promoting many of the new introductions from Australasia. No doubt these dead plants will have to be removed and thrown away but do not be inpatient and replace them straight away. Many nurseries have over wintered this type of plant ready for spring sales and will have had damage caused by frosted root systems. My advice is to wait until May when newly propagated young plants come into the garden centres and nurseries ready for sale.
Do we keep or do we throw.
This will be the biggest decision you will have to make on many plants, I would always recommend if in doubt trim hard and wait to see if spring brings new growth. You can always call us at the nurseries and we will be happy to give you advice.
Thoughts for March.
Expect the weather to be a mixed bag this month, a very mild spell mid month will encourage new growth everywhere, but this will be followed by 2 nights of sub zero temperatures that will kill everything off again.
Frogs newts and children will also appear in ponds this month, it does not matter how many times you tell a young child to stay away from water they can't resist trying to drown themselves. You could fill the pond with large pebbles until your children are older or you might try filling your children's pockets with so many pebbles they can't get off the sofa.
Incidentally it is not necessary to spend a fortune on a fountain to oxygenate the water in your pond. Just throw the cat in every morning allow him to thrash around helplessly for 5 mins before pulling him out, he will benefit from the vigorous exercise and will aerate the pond at the same time.
Health and Safety.
Removing the top 4 rungs from your ladder will make it much safer!
And remember don't carry hatred in your heart - use a wheelbarrow!
Quaymount Gardening Services.
We offer a planting and general gardening service, and will also tidy up your garden after the winter. Please phone for a quote.