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Moving need Hosta help

Posted by miketropic 6B - 7 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 12:22

I just signed a contract to sell my house and should be closing on my new one next week. The new owner agreed to let me take all my plants with me so I have alot of digging to do. I would say I have about 50 hosta I need to dig. If I don't have the spot prepared for them yet what is the best method to over winter them not in ground? I was planning on digging and tagging and putting them in boxs in a cool place. giving them a mist once or twice a month till I get a spot for them at the new house in spring. Any other ideas are welcome...I don't want to lose my whole collection


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Moving need Hosta help

You're a litle warmer than Ken. But, still wait for an answer from him. He moved somewhere around a thousand, so has the most experience. He potted them up, but I don't know the details. Forget the misting part, though. They are dormant and don't need water.

If he doesn't show up in time, do a google search on moving hosta and ken_adrian. Any article over a year old won't show up on the gardenweb search.

Good luck.

bk


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

plastic grocery bags ....

move them ...

get load of mulch ... put all together in one heap.. cover with mulch ... 3 to 6 inches max ....

is retaining names important???? .. i would have to ponder how to do that ....

fill in all holes at old house ...

get them out before closing..

is your agreement in writing????

are any of these rare??? .... if you can rebuy half of them for $5 each.. think about leaving them ...

i wonder if anyone knows a post name where i gave all the verbage????

OK.. NOW i read the rest of your post.. lol ... boxes may to work.. if you can not insure the requisite cold dormancy for 60 days or whatever it it.. probably wont work in a garage or basement ....

where are you???? .. zone means nothing in this equation ....

is there a veg garden at the new house???? .. any bare earth????

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

alright let me try to get all this in one post. im in northern ky 6b but close to the river so it keeps it more around the 7 side. the contract is in writeing I was a mad man about keeping my plants so it was written in. no bare earth at the new house yet.im sure I can bag them all up and put a load of mulch over them. when I put them in there plastic grocery bags should I tie them or leave them open? some are a bit rare so id like to keep them known...maybe put a tag in each bag then cover them all with mulch


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Write the names on the plastic bags with permanent marker and then put another plastic label and stick it into the root ball. Make a map as well.

What Ken is saying is that they are better off in the ground than not. If you can't plant them then you can "heel them in" by covering them with mulch.

If you do any bed prep this fall then put em in the ground. As long as the ground is not frozen you can plant. Where you are located you might have well into December to plant.

Steve


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

id much rather have em in the ground myself but the area I want to replant in wont be ready at all. im a bit leary of the plastic bags, makes me think they will rot with out air flow. ill have to come up with somthing and I like the ideas so far...


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

first off.. they can NOT stay it the bags all winter.. those are simply for transportation ... no drainage ...

second ... i hope you are focused on a HOLDING BED ... NOT placement ... for 50 hosta.. you shouldnt need a spot more than 5 by 5 feet... one foot on center ... of course depending on size of clump ....

do you already have labels??? .. if so.. label bag.. stick plant and label in ... unbag... lay on surface ...... stick in label.. take pix.. or draw a map ...

WHAT IS THE SOIL TYPE AT THE NEW HOUSE ... well draining soil ... or some horrible clay ... do not place them in a low spot where winter water might accumulate ....

the key.. as always is ... GET THEM DORMANT .. KEEP THEM DORMANT ... and the mulch is there to keep them cold... on warm days ... to insulate mother earth from temp spikes ... keep winter winds off them to avoid excessive drying ... etc ...

you do not note your cultivars.. again.. if you are moving 50 albomarginata ... i question your sanity ... lol ... one is more than enough of duplicates... do not get greedy and make extra work ...

dont forget to fill the holes you leave .... frankly.. if it wont fit in a plastic grocery bag.. it might not be worth taking ......

most of my info is Z5 MI based... i truly dont know.. how your z7 changes that .... if anyone from a closer zone challenges my suggestions.. and has experience .. i might defer to them ...

i moved 1650 hosta in 2000 ... most were unique and worth the work to move ... but i did leave behind about 100 albomarginata.. and their ilk ... 5 dollar hosta ... as i said.. one was enough ... but i started digging in june.. potted them in very expensive potting media... and didnt finish the job until late october .... you do NOT have the time to do this the right way .... in my z5 ....

i will keep watch on this ... do let us know how it all went down ... just make sure you keep them out of the sun ...

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I did keep a couple of hosta in boxes one winter. Heavy, liquor store type boxes, and they did fine over winter. If you have a strong back and some help, I think its worth it to take a large root ball of a large plant, especially a slow grower or a favorite. You will however, need a correspondingly large box and large mulch pile. The idea of creating new gardens is exciting.

Happy moving,
Beverly
Beverly


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I've used plastic bags in a pinch, but not for that long. When I do, I always grab the scissors and snip a hole in the bottom. I think you should be able to get away with them if you heel them in and leave the tops open. Kinda like a floppy pot. If you want something with more structure than grocery store bags you could use purchase "Baggies" - they do have huge ones. On the other hand, you still have some time to get some pots on-line to re-pot them for the winter.

The good thing is that Kentucky's 6b winter is much shorter and less severe than Michigan's 6b.


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

no!!

the bags are simply to carry them from spot A to spot B ..

DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE BAGS ...

and the issue is your zone ... in ground freeze zones [like bev and me] .. this is a minor issue.. they will freeze solid..

my concern.. that i tried to express.. 3 times now..

is that they need to GET DORMANT.. and STAY DORMANT .. and i dont know how that will work in your more temperate zone ....

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

there all down now only rotten brown leaves on them and with our high winds and tornado watchs today I would say that wont even be left tomm. I think praying hands..empress wu and stained glass were some of the last hold outs..everything else should be dormant by now and those will be in a few weeks. I have no intentions of bringing them inside or wakeing them up I just need them to make the trip and winter so I can get a good spring when I get the new bed ready. I guess bare root under a mulch pile is about as good as im going to get and hope for the best


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I am not experienced in this field but possibly hammer together 4 2x8 or 2x10 and fill with soil and plants for winter and replant in spring.. Would this work Ken? Moving them wrapped in newspaper of a few days for transport may take less work or strain on the back if not left that way too long. Is it a far move?Congratulations on your new home.
Faye


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I have no experience at this at all. However, I have to put in my 2 cents, too. Don't bareroot them. If I was going to bareroot them, I'd ask some of the nurserymen who bareroot in the fall and hold over in a refrigerator for advice. I wouldn't do that without finding out what that would require from someone who's done it, successfully. (Doesn't White Oak do that? Or, are they the ones who sold this year?)

I'd say, take as large a rootball as you can. The liquor store box might be big enough to hold a good sized rootball. The boxes will be mush by spring, but who cares? If you put them next to each other, they will hold each other up until they are moved. The large nursery pots was a good idea, too. I like Faye's idea as well. The north side of a building would keep them in the shade. The heavy mulch should keep them shaded as well.

Let us know how it goes and what you decide.

bk


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I wish you luck, Mike. You've rec'd some good advice. You just need to edit it to your conditions and experience.

This post was edited by monet_g on Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 19:01


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Ok, so I'm going to repeat, in my own words, what I understand the plastic bag/pot problem to be. If the drainage holes are in the bottom and the plant freezes, then thaws, only the top usually thaws, not the bottom, so the drainage holes are useless. Then water can sit on the top and rot the crowns. That's why, after they freeze through, we tip them on their sides. With the box, the water can seep threw the sides of the box even if the bottom is still frozen. This may be why I got lucky with my boxes. I really just had them left over after redoing a bed. Now they are in my front yard garden. I had them planted in the boxes with stuff I don't recommend. I believe it was compost from the community compost pile and some garden dirt that came up with the plant, not bare root. Planting them that way would make them heavy to transport whereas bear root they will be lighter. Hmm, more elements to this move than I first considered.

Good luck
Beverly


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

the move is not far..about 15 miles or so but I have almost an acre I am going to turn into a garden..there is only one corner with tree cover and shade for now so its my only spot till I get some stuff worked out. closeing is supposed to be this week. if it is I may just bite the bullet and dig everything and replant in one big square someplace on the property and hope they make it till spring.I have a few pots I could use for the better ones but I will have to go buy some dirt and I am trying to do this move on the cheap..so I have more hosta money! thanks for all the advice. im still a bit scared of replanting now incase the winters harsh and I lose them but I got to try something


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Since it sounds like you've decided to dig.......If you want to keep expenses to a minimum and save $ for closing costs and move-in expenses.....

---dig up your hosta with as much soil around the roots (per BK) as you can get away with, (knowing you will have to smooth over the empty holes when you are done...per Ken)

---place them in recycled grocery bags (free) for transport to new place (as Ken suggested) --- identify each (as Steve suggested)

---dig up either a shallow 'ditch'-like area or a square as you've planned
---remove from plastic bag with I.D tags....plunk your hosta/tags in ground

---cover with the soil you will find under existing grass on property...you can even use the broken - up clumps you've dug up to fit in around the roots of the hosta...if you dig a bigger area than you need, you will likely have enough soil to cover all. I have done this myself, barely covered them...they all survived to this day....I'm in zone 5 with bitter winters.

Treat it as the no-frill temporary holding bed it is until spring. Hosta are proven to be tough plants...they will survive. Whether they are a $5 plant or a $50 plant, they are all worth the effort to bring them over to your new home. This doesn't have to cost you anything if you don't want it to. It's up to you.

Try not to worry, they will be fine......you've received lots of encouraging and good advice as Monet pointed out - just do it and have some fun in the dirt while you are at it. :-). I envy you in your warmer zone and the longer growing season.

Congrats on your new home....I hope in the spring, and once you are settled in, that you will introduce us to your hosta.

Jo


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

"I may just bite the bullet and dig everything and replant in one big square someplace on the property"

Mike, what you stated right there, go for it. Don't overthink it, just do it. It's good, it's simple, it's practical. Practical for what Ken said...Getting them frozen, and KEEPING them frozen (dormant)...

My.02

Good Luck, You'll Be OK!
Don B.


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

I am usually in the banas and tropicals forum but this seems like a active and experienced place and I will def update when its done and post plenty of pics. I don't have any top teir rare ones but I have a good start and I recently found out about a large hosta farm pretty close to pick up some new ones this spring


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Yes, Mike, do check back often and let us know what's happening...This forum is an excellent way to discover many beautiful hosta varieties...You will be highly enabled... : )

P.S. One of our more Southerly gardeners has some banana plants beautifully underplanted with...kid you not...Hostas! Perhaps if she reads this post, she will favor us with her improbable but awesome flowerbeds in the form of some pics!

Cheers!
Don B.


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

and never forget... lol ... you could probably leave them on the driveway all winter.. if the drive is shaded ...

the hosta are quite resilient...

its the moving that is problematic... i mean you might have a few other things to do.. like work for a living.. packing your actual house .. hop on one foot and bark at the moon.. etc ...

yes.. as asked above.. a small raised bed would work ... but for the fact.. that its hard to get soil delivered this time of year... up my way for sure ... even mulch ...

the idea of healing them in.. a smallish ditch ... so you get them a bit into mother earth .... would be excellent ....

just do it.. as best you can.. declare it a win .. and move on... odds are you will lose a few.. so be it... so did i.. about 109 to be exact.. if memory serves .... i was angry .... it took a few years to understand.. i saved 1650 minus 109 ... lol ...

they are hosta.. do your best.. get it done.. and dont give them another thought ...

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

we had 4 inchs of rain yesterday and tornado watchs all around. The ground is good and soft the temps are in the mid 50's so it might be good time to dig and bag. Then the day I sign the closing I can drive up and start the ditch. just not real fond of having to move them twice but its better than leaving them behind or loseing them. I want to get some good quality soil and that just wont be delivered right now so the ditch is the best I can do..north side of the house should do right?


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

That should do Mike. You're just heeling them in. Keep a little extra soil near by in case you need to re-cover any roots which may get exposed during the winter.

Steve


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

they can stay in the ditch.. aka .... mother earth for years ...

you will spend next spring/summer building decorative beds.. or whatever ...

and then in fall you can move them around ...

mother earth will be so much more forgiving than all the other machinations...

take some pix for our edification ...

man .. lots of big words this morning ... um... duh.. eh???? .. there that felt better ... lol....

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

wonderful day today 50 with a steady drizzle. I figured this was as good a day as any to go dig a few up. I was really trying to get to them before the mushy leaves were blown away so i didn't have such a hard time finding them but I will miss a few I'm sure. This is what came up so far

mature june x 2
mature blue mouse ears x 2
mature praying hands x 2
mature haspen blue
mature stained glass
zebra stripes starter
white feather starter
mature fire island
mature empress wu
wheee

Out of them all Empress Wu was very hard lady to persuade to move but there all in bags with labels now. hoping I can get them in the ground next week. Still ALOT left but I feel like I got a little bit done.

This post was edited by miketropic on Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 9:26


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Way to go, Mike. Feels good getting some done, doesn't it? I found it tough to get started but the going got easier (looks like a few of us are moving this year)....I had to pot mine up, then my move got delayed by a month.

I have not yet seen a mature Empress Wu. My daughter's EW is only a year old. How old is yours now?

You and the rest of us "movers" have lots to look forward to in the spring!

Jo


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

mine is 3 yrs old I will post a pic later I know I have one some place. it has yet to attain the advertised size but it might one day. hope this all works out and I don't have to much die out on me


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

forcast has temps in the low teens the next few nights..will they be ok in the shed in there bags when it gets this cold? without the soil protection im a bit worried. here in the Wu this year had 2 scapes come up and I get seed from them both..open pollen.. Don't mind the slug dust on it lol


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

When I moved my hosta south from Mass., they were dug from the ground and put in 5 gallon buckets. They went dormant up there, in December, and stayed in a PODS for about 2 weeks where it was cold. Never broke dormancy, did not get watered in the PODS.

Then when they arrived in Mobile, the ones in 5 gallon buckets were drilled in the sides of the bucket at the bottom edges, they were turned on their sides, and spent the winter in the shade. Those which came south in flower pots stuck in plastic bags, made the trip, and were removed from the bags. They too were tipped on their sides and spent the winter in the shade. They came up right on time in March.

I'm thinking for mature clumps of hosta, you can buy some cheap plastic totes, or some cheap wire waste baskets sold at Dollar Tree, and keep the root ball. These could be placed in the moving truck in temporary bags a la Ken Adrian, and removed from the bags and inserted in the pile of mulch to spend the winter. I think they'd be safer in those wire baskets, and if you wind up having VOLES, this could save them from predation. Let them stay in the wire baskets until their garden spot is ready, even if they begin to emerge from dormancy a bit early. Just keep them from freezes late in the winter if they are a lot earlier.

Never had a mature clump of hosta, so don't know if you can physically pick up a mature clump without a fork lift, but a long footed dolly is the best purchase I made this year to move heavy pots. And I have some really big pots. Worth having such a dolly believe me. Wire waste baskets from Dollar Tree are a great investment too.

Even if it is only 15 miles, you go through much the same process as a cross country move. At least the hosta don't have to adjust to a different climate so much.

Good luck on your move.


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

After many lays, none of which were my fault I still have no gotten to close on my new home. But I did dig up my hosta and they have been in bags for a week or more. Last night we got 3 inchs of snow and temps at or below freezing. How long does everyone think they will store in those bags before I should expect alot of losses?


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

Well, after my dug up hosta went dormant, they sat around about two weeks beneath an open but roofed porch. Nothing happened to them. They were simply fine and dandy. As far as they knew, they were still tucked safely in bed and they stayed happy until the spring of 2012....which started early in March, even had a bloomer on Satisfaction in April, which was a real big surprise. Waking up in a warmer zone, they broke dormancy a lot earlier than they would have if we'd only moved locally instead of to the deep south.

Keep em cold, keep em dry. If the bags are sealed up, open the tops---perhaps some air circulation would prevent plastic bags from overheating the hosta inside.


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

After many lays, none of which were my fault

==>> i have been faintly amused at this for a few hours now.. lol ...

WHAT???

your concern is the freeze thaw cycle.. and rot ...

in my zone.. i would say to start worrying in about late march ... as they would probably remain frozen until then ..

i dont know.. in your zone ...

ken


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

well Ken that is amusing but its starting to make me a bit mad. DELAY is what I was going for there. I got this wireless keyboard and every time the batteries start going dead I miss a bunch of keys and it will only type parts of the word...

Anyway I think there good under a 3 inch blanket of snow for now then. tops are open on the bags.

At what temp do you think they really start to wake up?

This post was edited by miketropic on Sat, Dec 7, 13 at 17:51


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RE: Moving need Hosta help

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 22:39

OP: hope these tips help you.

I'm not sure when they'll wake up for you, but in my zone 7B garden in western WA we have frost until late April mid May, so after Mother's Day I can assume no more frost. In my shaded gardens they wake up slower than the sunny spots so YES, put them in the shade to keep them from wakening early since out of the soil.

When you see the pips emerge that is the time to get them planted quickly. If you wait until pips are finger length you damage leaves easier. I try to be careful, but I'm clumsy when I get cold & wet. Our springs are always cold & wet except for a day here & there.

ASAP -- poke drainage holes in the bags using a chop stick or pencil -- even if not fully thawed the holes will help it drain. The stick won't damage the hosta, but the standing water will.
... or better yet slip them out of the bags & put inside free cardboard banana or any size boxes from grocery store to then surround with insulating mulch. Be sure to bait for voles, mice, slugs, etc. If you also set the boxes on top of folded cardboard boxes it will be easier to remove as the bottoms will stay mostly intact if not a long time setting there. If boxes are on bare ground they fall apart more. I have experience doing this method.

If you are still going to have to move the hosta from location now back in car or truck to new home, you can slip boxes back into garbage bags to haul them. I've used a flat shovel to slip under boxes to lift if they're falling apart. The hosta don't fall apart. The banana boxes have handles, so I like them & can get several plants in the same box.

Did you get some type of insulating mulch for them? Here are some of my freebie/cheapie ideas.

1. compost
Maybe in your local area you can haul yourself if they don't deliver. Use contractor garbage bags if you don't have a truck. Some municipalities offer compost from kitchen waste free or inexpensively as compared to plastic bagged compost.

TIP: if you make friends with someone who raises horses or livestock you might get access to their partially composted manure piles. Place a want ad on Craigslist, inquire at your county agricultural extension or 4-H office, place ad at a local feed store, attend your county fair, etc. to locate them.

One contact keeps it covered in her circular driveway where a pond used to be & I can come anytime to load up, but usually let her know 1st to find out if she has much there. With 4 horses she has more than enough for her gardens, just wants me to put tarp back in place & is glad she gets rid of it instead of having to place ads for it. Her husband wants the pile gone anytime it becomes much of a pile instead of an empty pond. She doesn't mind if it gets large. I try to keep both happy & get over there for as many loads as my back can take in fall or early spring. I am not afraid of her stuff at all since it's manure plus bedding & has aged some before I get it. I try to snoop around the pile & get the oldest stuff. Another gal keeps it in neat concrete bays. Hers isn't open anytime, but will let me come if I inquire & is quite easy to load. You don't want horses fed with weed free hay as that has a herbicide in it that persists. I prefer those that feed less grain & just oats or beet pulp like my pond friend, but the sunflowers fed by the other gal are easy enough to remove & feed to the chickens or just let the slugs get them since they prefer the seedlings over my mature plants.

2. bagged soil conditioner sold at big box home stores as PEP (mostly fine shredded pine bark plus a bit of fertilizer I think, 2 cu ft for $4) I've used this even as temporary potting soil with good results. Great drainage & we have 60-80" rain October - June, so drainage important.

3. loose straw/hay sweepings (free from feed store, some store it out back in a trailer, others in a dumpster, others let you gather in their for sale stack area if you're near the end of the day you save the workers the effort. Reward with Christmas candy if you can gather it when dry as it's easier to haul, but dusty. May take several trips to get what you need over time.) Don't be afraid of weed seeds in this mix as you will be covering the plants with soil when they're in final position. Or mulch over the hay & you'll never know it was there. I've used lots of hay. Be careful if it's a lot of alfalfa hay as that heats up quickly in the spring when the soil warms. If mixed it isn't a problem. Can get stinky if concentrated.

4. used coffee grounds (coffee shop, friends, neighbors, churches?)

5. used guinea pig or rabbit bedding (check with 4-H office, animal rescue groups, etc. -- mostly the sawdust pellets that expand into sawdust when wet with urine & manure that I've used myself as light mulch layer that didn't burn anything. I'm fortunate to have found a guinea pig rescue nearby that cleans out cages Sunday afternoons. If you get a contact, save that info. It's a great source of organic matter if you give it time.

6. shredded leaves (from a garden friend who may have stashed for leaf mold & willing to share)

7. arborist wood chips (free delivery if in your area, timing is everything. Check Craigslist. Look in phone listings for a tree trimming, arborist company.)

8. bamboo trimmings (one year I got the canes & cut off the leaves that was slow to decompose, but made an interesting path material at our camp's children's garden area. After 2 years it's still nice looking.)

MIX whatever you get together on a tarp or garden cart, then spread around the hosta roots, but not smothered on top of them.

Hope that helps ~ Corrine


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