Questions about rhodies and winter

smom40(5MO)November 17, 2005

Had a hard freeze last night after a 'warm' fall. Well, warm for this area, anyway.

I saw severe leaf curl on my rhodies yesterday. One of which is established in the ground by the previous owner and the other in a large wooden barrel that I planted. (I'm sorry, I don't know the names.) I noticed that the barrel one had some blacked areas on some of the leaf margins. Not extensive and it doesn't look like blackspot. Is it from the freeze?

Leaves did uncurl by mid-afternoon.

I have several questions about winter protection. I put down a hastily laid layer of about three inches of bark mulch yesterday, and sprayed the leaves with Wiltpruf. Is there anything else that I should/can do?

Winter was erratic last year. Cold as cold can be with some temps below zero at times, yet also a couple of bizarre days around 70. My first winter here and everyone kept calling it 'mild'.

Very little snow. Very little precipitation. Heck, I got more rain back in CA, which is saying something.

Is there more that I should do? How long to go without rain before I water those things? (Sprinklers were just blown out two days ago so I would have to hand water.) Should I water them at all now?

I do mulch that area during the summer too, so the ground is always protected, even before the freeze. BIG rain the day before the freeze hit, so they were well-watered going into this.

Anything else? We should have night temps around the freezing mark every day for the next week, with temps from 40-50 starting tomorrow (after tonight's low of 24).

Any other suggestions that you have, I would love to hear. I'd really like to get these things through this winter without doing something stupid. Anymore 'must dos'?

TIA for anything that you want to share on the subject.

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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Leaf curling is the plant's way of reducing transpiration of water - the colder the temp the more the curl. It makes a handy thermometer.
Be sure the mulch is not right up against the stems or mice may girdle the plant.
If you had a big rain storm, that should take them through the winter.
why the barrel?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 9:02PM
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It was there when I moved in? LOL

In the corner, against the house, protected spot. I removed the dead perennial (whatever it was) out of it and planted the small rhodie. It's right next to the other rhodie, so I figured the light was okay for it. But being so new to some of these plants in this zone, have no idea about whether or not it will survive the winter.

Looking at the space, I think that it was a way for the old owner to bring some height right there. A visual thing I guess.

Will check mulch location re stems in the am, but FTR, I haven't seen a mouse in this area in the year I've been here. Other than the stray squirrel in the back common area, no rodent type animals at all...(I shouldn't have said that out loud, eh? Might jinx myself!)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 10:49PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

You got good advice. One more thing, apply WiltPruf again in mid winter.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 7:55AM
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WiltPruf, it is!

Thanks for the responses. They're holding on right now. So far, so good...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 2:22PM
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