The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

February 11, 2014

Will the cold weather hurt my landscape?

RICHMOND — Do we live in a tundra or central Kentucky? I half expect to see a caribou on my way home from work. We have had mild winters for years, so I suppose we were due a bad one. While the cold weather has been hard on us, how is it affecting our plants?

There are several ways plants can be damaged or killed during these cold snaps.

Soil Heaving:

When we have alternating warm and cold weather, the ground freezes and thaws. This action can push shallow rooted or poorly established plants out of the ground. Having snow on the ground can actually be beneficial for preventing heaving. Otherwise, you can use mulch such as wood chips, straw or leaves. Just be sure to pull the mulch back in the spring.

Low Temperatures:

Plants have a temperature range in which they live. For example, cabbage can live under much cooler conditions than a palm tree can survive. The USDA has a Hardiness Zone Map which breaks down the country into zones based on average annual minimum winter temperature (http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/). We are a zone 6. If you used plants in your landscape that are meant for zones above 6, they will be more likely to experience damage than those which can tolerate cold temperatures. Damage may not be noticeable right away. Problems may not show up until several months later.

Some flower buds on plants such as dogwood and forsythia may be damaged by the cold we have experienced this winter, leading to a decrease in blooms this spring.

Freeze cracks:

Trees with thin bark such as maples or cherries may experience a split in the bark, primarily on the south or southwest side. This is due to sudden changes in temperature which causes the inner tissue of the tree to expand and contract. This can be prevented by using tree wrap to wrap the tree up to the first set of branches.

Winter Burn:

Evergreens, such as pine, yew, and azaleas, do not go dormant, like deciduous plants. Instead they continue to transpire and lose water out their leaves throughout winter. Damage can occur when the water leaving the plant is more than that which is coming in through the root system. When the ground is frozen beyond the depth of the roots, no water can be taken in. Windy conditions can dry the plant out even more quickly. To prevent this, it is important evergreens receive enough water in the fall. Also, plant them in protected areas, away from the wind.

So for the most part, our landscape plants should make it through the winter. After all, plants have been surviving winters for untold number of years. But if you do need to replace any plant, tree, or shrub this spring, be sure to choose one that is well suited for our area. Who knows what next winter may bring!

1
Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
  • Amanda-Sears-c.jpg Cicada-killer wasps are here

    The extension office has received numerous phone calls over the past couple of weeks about large wasps hovering in yards all over the county.
    This insect is called the cicada killer, and despite its aggressive name, it is not something to be scared of.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brandon-Sears-c.jpg Converting from year-round calving to a controlled breeding season

    Maintaining a controlled breeding and calving season can be one of the most important management tools for cow-calf producers.
    Uniform, heavier and more valuable calves are key reasons to keep the breeding season short.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Nostalgia-Glenmore.jpg Paper boys learned life, business lessons

    I often flash back to the days from the mid to late 1930s when I was a paper boy.
    There were 10 or 12 of us who rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. every day, jumped on our bicycles and headed downtown to the Glyndon Hotel and picked up our papers for delivery.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg Here’s why teachers aren’t paid enough

    The following were included in last year’s exams and were answered by 16-year-old high school students. The answers are genuine, and we must remember that these youngsters will grow up to vote, marry and become parents. It’s a scary thought.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 4-H Entries 1.jpg 4-H exhibits are family affair for the Houstons

    Five children from the same family were the first to bring their 4-H exhibits Wednesday to the Madison County Fairgrounds.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-22 Band Camp 1.jpg Band students ‛take over’ MCHS campus

    The Madison Central High School campus has been “taken over” for two weeks by 170 students attending band camp.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • Dr-Jack-Rutherford.jpg Warning labels needed on energy drinks

    The popularity of energy drinks has soared since they entered the marketplace, but at least one consumer group wants the FDA to order warnings on product labels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donna-Moberly.jpg Full Gospel ‛Back to School Bash’ is Aug. 2

    Hello everyone.
    I guess everyone is asking, “How much rain did we get?”

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Katie-Rollins.jpg Thank the Lord for the rain

    Hello readers, it’s a stormy Monday evening as I write this, and I’ve been thanking the Lord all day for the good rain – over an inch in the gauge now, and it looks like more before morning.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Paula-Jones-c.jpg Rain has helped lawns, gardens

    Hello from Baldwin.
    How is everyone’s week going? I hope everyone is having a great one.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo