Thursday, January 14, 2010


Remember last September and October when I talked about watering your shrubs and trees generously? Well, today was what that was all about!
It's bitterly cold. It's BEEN bitterly cold the last week or so. The ground is frozen and the frost line is deepening by the day. The snow has turned mostly to ice.
In the meantime, the plants still are exposed to cold air, whether they have leaves (evergreens) or not (deciduous). They are transpiring as we speak. Just like you and I do.
Generally, when leaves are gone (as in deciduous shrubs and trees) the transpiration almost stops. However, we also have leafy evergreens, like rhododendrons, mountain laurel, etc. You will notice how their leaves droop noticeably in the winter. These guys continue to transpire. This is why often the shrubs are wrapped in burlap, sprayed with an antidesiccant or sheltered somehow. It's not only to protect the branches from the weight of the snow, but to shield them from wind, sun and freezing temperatures. As they transpire, or lose moisture through their leaves, they are needing a replacement of water.
Roots are deep and able to find water deep in the soil, if we provided it for them. If we didn't, those plants will have to wait for spring for a drink. Even a thaw does not necessarily provide them with water. The ground is frozen so water and melting snow tend to just run off.
This is worth remembering next fall. Give those trees and shrubs (especially ones with leaves) a good, deep soaking to be sure they have moisture to carry them through a tough winter.


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