3810 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 876-1014

Archive date:  March 12, 2011

Is it Dead, Did I Kill it, and What do I do Now?

Tennessee Cedar Raised Beds are now here!

You’re not alone if you have asked yourself (or someone else) the questions at the top. This is the time of year when the ravages of winter really begins to show the effects on our landscapes. The winter has been fairly harsh. There are items that show winter damage. Plants such as English laurel, Nandina, Carolina jasmine (or Jessamine, if you prefer) are all examples of plants that currently look a bit rough. It is however, not a cause for panic. English Laurel and Carolina jasmine are both broadleaf plants, we are at the northern edge of where they are reliably hardy, therefore, they are prone to “winter burn”. This browning and discoloration of the foliage is the plant telling you as much. You can trim and fertilize the laurels now, but don’t trim the jasmine…you will cut off many bloom buds; wait and do so after it has flowered.

Nandina falls into another class; they are semi-broadleaf. That means in milder winters they retain much of their foliage, in a winter like this year, they will drop much, if not all. Again, this is not an issue of mortality; rather it is just the plant’s way of dealing with the stresses of winter. It is a good idea to treat a Nandina now by trimming lightly to remove dead tips or more severe if they have become leggy and fertilize. I’m a big fan of the Espoma Organic line of fertilizers; great for the plants and gentle on the earth.

Often times plants are purchased in the fall without the understanding of what the terms “deciduous” (drops leaves), “broadleaf evergreen” (things like hollies, laurels that retain foliage year-‘round) and “coniferous evergreen or conifer” (plants that have needles and stay green throughout the year; there are a few deciduous conifers, such as Bald Cypress).

This Saturday, I’ll be giving a short talk in “The Green Room”, about dealing with and diagnosing damage from winter. There will be one session at 10:30am. Feel free to bring branches of plants you have questions or concerns about. The event is first-come, first-served and seating is limited to 35. All future events will be organized by my daughter, Sara Bates call (615.876.1014) or email Sara (sarabates@batesnursery.com) to reserve a seat for future sessions. The session will end with “Q & A” so you will have ample opportunity to get answers! We will have a calendar of events for the next few weeks in next week’s newsletter.

By the way, “The Green Room” is our new multi-media lecture hall. This facility is available for your garden club or other groups during our business hours. Sara will be coordinating all of our events, so contact her to get your slot! 

See you this Saturday,

David Bates

p.s We now have Tennessee Cedar Raised Beds, locally manufactured from native cedar trees; they are 4’ X 4’ X 1’. They are naturally beautiful and decay resistant; each 4 piece unit “slides” together for a quick “no-tools” assembly. Perfect for square-foot gardening!