There’s not like getting a little over confident about the weather to have Mother Nature laugh in your face.
I’ve been doing my fair share of zone pushing lately. That is, planting perennials, shrubs and trees that are rated for a zone warmer than where you garden. Well, sort of. From the time I started gardening here, it has been zone 5a. A couple years ago the USDA announced a new zone map, bumping us up to 5b. I’ve been more than a little skeptical, particularly since I sometimes thought that even the 5a designation was optimistic, as just a bit inland it was 4b territory (and now 5a).
The low temperature (not windchill) here Monday night was somewhere around -20 and that is a problem. The USDA hardiness map for zone 5b is -10 to -15. Zone 4b is rated for -20 to -25.
|This is what the Venus dogwood looked like until the week (pay no attention to the pile of branches and burlap it was about to be dressed with).|
But there’s one tree that has me particularly worried. It’s a Venus dogwood and I wrote about it last April and a few months later I was planting the biggest one I could get a mail order nursery to send me. I wrote about it when I was considering buying it and even then I admitted that it was a risk since it’s probably a zone 6a plant, even though some descriptions said it was hardy to zone 5b.
I really babied that tree last summer and in fall it got a nice thick layer of leaf mulch at its base and a full deer fence enclosure. But when I saw the forecast for this week, I thought it would be worth trying to do a bit more to save it.
I grabbed all the extra pine boughs I had from making my winter containers and stacked them up at the base of the tree plus around the deer fence. Then I wrapped the entire thing in burlap. It was important that I didn’t do any of that any earlier because the snow piled up at its base should help it more than anything I can do and if I had burlapped it sooner, it would have missed the snow.
I also piled more branches around the new gingko and japanese maple as well as put a bit of burlap around the gingko. None of it is pretty, that’s for sure, and it’s not exactly the look I was going for out the living room winter, but I’m happy to give up my winter view for beauty the rest of the year.
|The little Japanese maple just got a few branches stuck in its cage.|
I have no idea if my last ditch efforts will make a difference and it will be a long wait to find out. I figure it will be May before I really know the extent of the damage. Doesn’t May seem like a lifetime away right now?
How’s your garden faring through the polar vortex?