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Protecting Younger Plants

Posted by tulipsmiles 6 South of Boston (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 2, 11 at 10:47

Hello All,

I have several young plants that I'd like to properly protect this winter. I am posting pics below of them so that you can get an idea of their size (plants and pots). They all are in pots and will *not* be in the ground. I'm looking for any advice on how to bundle them up so the winter cold doesn't do them in...
(my camera had some kind of weird color screen at the time I took these pics. Please ignore color. I'm trying to give you an idea of size of pots and plants.

1. Young Hydrangea Plants in Pots

2. Very Young "Blace Lace" Elderberry plant

3. Large planting pots - left pot contains 3 raspberry plants and the right pot contains newly planted runners from my strawberry plant. I believe the pots are 20 gallons?

4. Very young "Limelight Hydrangea"

Any info is much appreciated. I do have an unheated shed I can put the smaller pots in, but the raspberry and strawberry planters are much too large to move.

I think all of the plants are winter hardy, but being so young, and not insulated by the earth, I'm worried!

Thanks so much,
Tulip Smiles

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Protecting Younger Plants

In general, the rule is that a plant in an unprotected pot needs to be hardy to 2 zones colder than the zone it is actually in, so plants hardy to zone 4 should be OK. Depending on what hydrangeas you have, they might or might not be hardy.

When I have plants I am not able to plant, I group them all in one place that is sheltered from winter sun (to reduce freeeze-thaw cycles) and then bury the pots in mulch, either bark mulch or wood chips. For me winter drainage is an issue, and this allows the pots to drain better than those either in the ground or in exposed pots, since a half-frozen pot won't drain during freeze-thaw cycles. As long as the plants have good roots, I do not think that being young would be an issue, though I am no expert in overwintering. You will need to check periodically for dryness in the soil. Also, I move heavy pots with a wheeled dolly that I can slide under the pot and tip them up.

Also, there is no guarantee that the pots will survive. I have had plastic pots split that were left out over winter, and so I imagine that most materials have the possibility to split if really wet soil ends up freezing.

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