Return to the Cottage Garden Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Posted by gottagarden z5 western NY (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 16:10

We're getting the polar blast here, woke up to -8 and windy. High today was 0. Oh, and a blizzard too! We're getting the lake effect storm from lake erie and genesee county has a travel ban and state of emergency.

I wonder if this brutal cold will kill off some of marginal plants? I'm zone 5b, but this might get some of the 5B bulbs. Hardy begonia, aruncus peppermint stick, certain primrose . . . fingers crossed! I transplanted 15 paperbark maple in the late fall and they aren't established at all :-(

We have about 6 inches + snow on the ground and I'm hoping that will insulate them.

How about you? Get hit by the cold or storms?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Was ready to post the same type message. Thinking about the new usda plant hardiness map. Maybe the old one is just fine. We didn't have any snow for the first 2 cold blasts so when it snowed again I pilled it high on the plants that were new, transplanted or zone pushers. It certainly will be interesting to see what survives this winter. I've always wondered what happens to southern perennials when cold weather reaches so far south. Maybe when it's a short lived cold snap the plants aren't bothered much. Good luck to you and your plants.


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

I have to admit, I've been wondering about that, too. We've had -16 temps, but we've also got about 18 inches of snow for insulation...


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Best of luck to all of you Z5 gardeners. I'm certainly no expert but it wouldn't hurt to take into account that the plants are dormant by now. It may very well be they'll come through the winter fine, especially those that have some snow for insulation.

The only plants I've lost the past 5+ years have been those that were short-lived perennials to begin with. The weather where I am has been extreme since I moved here late in 2005, either incredibly dry [4 months with NO rain AT ALL] or incredibly rainy or catastrophic in terms of snow [the horrific 2011 snowstorm on Halloween], wind, falling tree limbs and/or cold. Aside from Japanese iris, the only lost plants I've noted have been short-lived perennials.

Each growing season I keep garden notes on my computer on how things do so I can track what does well vs. what doesn't come back. Since the garden beds I designed after moving here are now pretty full with mostly winter sown, seed-grown hardy perennials, I figure the notes keep me from spending $$$ on nursery-grown plants that are short-lived or else unreliable in my zone.


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Yes, I'm wondering too. Yesterday I went out to look for a cat and my garden looked...well.. frozen. There is a layer of snow over the leaf mulch so that is comforting, but the brutal cold winds? My boxwood is somewhat nipped ontop but that is normal, rest of the foliage looks ok so far.

I think the bulbs will be fine. Worried about my caryopteris tho. It has lasted three years which is longer than any other I've planted. My concern is that this Fall I decided to cut down the tall perennial stalks that grow around it and I felt shielded it some in winter. In fact I'll find out if cutting back my dead stalks everywhere else in the Fall instead of the Spring was a good idea at least for MY garden. I know others cut back in Fall.


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

borderline zone perennials could suffer. The bigger issue is the temperature swings from warm to cold. If there was a melt before the freeze, even hardy plants can die. It's important to keep plants insulated with a mulch cover or a thick pile of snow protect against temperature changes.


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Schoolhouse, I do that too! My gardens are in an open windswept area that can have the winter winds cause some damage. I have found that leaving most of the cleanup until spring traps the snow and tends to create drifts over the garden. I am pretty sure that is part of why I haven't had to many losses of marginally hardy perennials in this part of the country. If we all have adequate snow cover/mulch I would think their wouldn't be to much damage...but trees and shrubs might take a beating and suffer a lot of winter kill.


 o
RE: What will this freeze do to our perennials?

Dh took snow blower and put even more snow on my plants. Had mulched a lot this fall. We had - 50- windchills. (highs) Monday was -15. But today freezing fog and rain. Very slick.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cottage Garden Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here