Planting shrubs this late in the season?

Gustawson(5)October 20, 2013

Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum, so I hope I'm not repeating anyone's question...
I have recently bought my first house and have a large yard, so I'm working on my first garden.
I'm at 7400 feet close to Continental Divide, so our weather is already wintry at times. I purchased 2 Honeysuckle shrubs and 2 lilacs yesterday, and I'm wondering if it's okay to plant them outside this late, or whether I should wait until spring. All the shrubs have green foliage and one of the honeysuckles still has flowers. If i plant them outside, should I take off the leaves? And should I wrap them, or put extra mulch?

I also have asparagus, rhubarb, and a blueberry bush coming in the mail in the next month or so. From what I read, it's okay to plant the veggies in the cold, but what about the blueberries?
I would appreciate any help I can get.Thanks!

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treebarb Z5 Denver

Welcome Gustawson!

It's prime planting time down here at 5,000 ft. Even at your altitude I think it's better to get the honeysuckle and lilac planted as soon as possible for some root development now before the soil freezes. It's iffy to overwinter in pots. I've been known to forget them and have them go all winter without any moisture.

I would prep the beds for asparagus and rhubarb now and maybe cover with a heavy layer of mulch or black plastic (lawn leaf bags weighted down with rock) to keep the soil warmer until mail order arrives.

Blueberries are problematic here as our soil is not nearly acidic enough and trying to amend to get the ph right is a never ending battle. I would pot up the blueberry bush in an acidic potting mix and either overwinter the pot in an unheated building or bury the pot up to the neck in soil for the winter. You can pull the pot in spring and use it as a patio plant.

Again, welcome and good luck!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Ditto everything Barb said! I just came to add one thing! If you do decide to give blueberries a "serious" try you'll need to get at least one more plant, a different variety, for cross pollination or you may wind up with little or no fruit at all. They need a separate cross pollinator.

Before you start thinking about that, tho, check out the thread linked below with more info on the attempts of others to grow blueberries in the Rocky Mountain/Colorado area.

Welcome to RMG,

Here is a link that might be useful: Blueberries

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 7:52PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Forgot to say don't take off the leaves, the plant needs them for stored energy and will shed them on their own when they're ready. Just enjoy the flowers till they freeze or snip them off and enjoy them inside.

I don't think you need to wrap them and don't pile mulch around the plant bases, a 2-3 inch layer around the root zone should be fine.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Thanks for all the tips. I planted everything yesterday, and we'll see how it goes. The lilacs look great, but the honeysuckles are a bit wilted... It was only 32 last night, so I hope they survive upcoming freezes.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:53AM
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