winterizing of heath and heather

doriswk(5)November 13, 2009

Hello all, I joined this forum in the hopes of getting some help, as I am a newby with erikas. Last spring I purchased 9 different heaths and heathers that were blooming at different times of the year. Two died, but the rest are still doing well. With winter approaching rapidly, I wonder how to protect them so they survive.I live in Toronto and mentioned it to the nursery so the would select varieties appropriate for my zone. In some places I read to cover them with leaves and branches from a cedar or pine. Someplace else I read to cover them with compost. At some point they will be covered with a fair amount of snow as they are on our front yard near the driveway, and snow from the driveway will end up on the front yard.

When would I do this? We already had some snow flakes, but now the days are milder, for a bit..

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Since they are considered evergreen subshrubs, I'd be cautious about covering their crowns with any type of heavy mulch like compost - it will only encourage rotting. Covering with old fir tree boughs or a light fluff of straw may be appropriate but I would most likely consider just mulching upto the crown of the plant to protect against heaving or freeze/thaw cycles, not over the top of it. Otherwise, a good snow cover is one of the best insulators.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing heaths and heathers in cold climates

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:32AM
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great, thanks!
I have already some fir tree boughs. Also got a huge bag of cedar mulch, but don't want to use it since it seems to interfere with the health of some other plants nearby. Could I use the leaves from our maple trees?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 3:12PM
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