|small pile from the latest storm|
For many parts of the nation it was a tough winter, although as my husband and I were discussing, the world events put our little complaints into perspective. The heart goes out to those in Japan who are suffering from an epic disaster. Prayers, also.
The seasons of life march on in the background of our tragedies, comedies, and dramas… with long spaces, thankfully, of the everyday events that give our lives continuity and a sense of order. I think this is one of the great things I appreciate about pursuing gardening. It is a context of how life is stitched together and the flow of events gives hope to again grow from ashes, from winter’s cold, sometimes punitive hand.
In March the garden begins to call for our attention; we have waited and yearned to answer it throughout winter’s long season.
On to the practical – what can be done about winter damage to our gardens?
Trees were severely pruned by the ice storms and heavy snows. If there are jagged leftovers those should be pruned flush with the branch or trunk. Misshapen forms can be pruned into a better symmetry. So get out the pruners and loppers. The Japanese pruning saw works well for large branches. Tools are linked if you don’t have them in your toolshed already.
Once growth restarts it helps to give a fertilizer boost, all purpose is fine, although acid loving plants benefit from formulations just for them.
Don’t remove your mulch too early, although I know we are tempted by spates of blue skies and warm sunshine. Mind the frost dates, and remember it is the drying winds that are a problem early in the spring. Keep everything protected well into April for Ohio gardens.
Did plants heave out of the ground? Heel them back in- just press them back into the soft ground, maybe use a hand cultivator to bring a little extra soil up over the roots. Easy does it.
Look for losses and dieback, simply cut those away. Check throughout spring, since for some reason the plants will leaf out, only to show the damage later.
Roots are killed when soil temperatures hit about 15°F. If you had snow insulating the ground, as many did, there is probably no problem with this. However rodent damage underneath the snow may result in the shrub or tree wilting once warmer temperatures arrive.
Some trees develop frost cracks- there is nothing you can do. Most of my trees healed up from them.
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© 2010 written for Ilona’s Garden Journal. Copyrights apply.