Current Enviromental Conditions
Never underestimate the limitations of how weather can
affect your experience. Or in this case
the livability of plant material here in Southeastern Wisconsin. In 2012 we saw
a drought that had an impact on plant varieties that was harsh, predictable and
avoidable. Now we look at the harsh cold of the winter of 2014, which is also
predictable, and sadly unavoidable, and we ignored weathers imposed
In the drought of 2012 the lack of natural
rain could be overcome by metered watering to save the plant material. But the winter of 2014 had no defenses that
could salvage plant tissue from the killing cold air driven by wind. We
learned that late season trimming of evergreens goes beyond livability
limitations, as does late season fertilizer.
And then after many years of mild winters we
pushed the envelope of plant varieties and placement, and now must pay the
toll. Boxwood, Japanese Maples, Azaleas,
Smokebush, Holly, even durables like Yews and Alberta Spruce have fallen
victim to minus twenty degree air temps of 2014. Some plants will recover if
you factor livability, but their landscape value will be greatly diminished to
the point of replacement.
recommendation is no trimming of any sort until the stock is fully leafed or
new evergreen growth has hardened. This
trimming will reduce the new growth extension and further stress the
plant. Watering the plant material will
push new growth faster, as will fertilizing to any degree. The truth is you
won't know the extent of the damage until the new leaf is fully formed and
hardened, same with evergreens.
The limitations of salinasation were easily meet this
winter, plants and lawns are affected. Client reports of salt free winter
maintenance on site with salt-scared lawns are testament to the gross overuse
of municipal salt applications. Also
snow doming was prevalent this year, even in very cold air! Sunlight reflecting and heating the snow
covered plants acted like a greenhouse (ironically in single digit temps) and
contributed to much of the burned plants you see.
We must pay closer
attention to the limitations that we as stewards of our landscapes have hereto fore
ignored. The demand of exotic plants and the desire for something different is
not always conducive to Wisconsin’s unpredictable climate.
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