Archive date: January 19, 2018
Milder Days Ahead
Resetting outdoor thermostat to: ‘De-frost’
2018 has reminded us, thus far, that winter does indeed exist. It has been several years since we have had such an extensive run of exceptionally cold conditions. Even if it has seemed especially bad to you, the weather has not been record-breaking by any stretch; it has simply been consistently cold for stretches of consecutive days. I do admit that the extended forecast looks good to me; the predicted low temperatures for next week are higher than the actual high temperature readings from this week. We’ll take it.
So, has this most recent round of cold temperatures inflicted more damage to our landscapes? Are there actions you should be taking in the garden as things begin to thaw out? Should you have concerns about possible salt damage to plants adjacent to the road, the driveway and sidewalks? Maybe.
This week’s cold spell was neither more severe nor longer lasting than the previous event from two weeks ago. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if damage has occurred to any plants so far this winter, it has not been made worse. There are a couple of possible actions to be mindful of. Even though we had light rain last week, and some snow this week, it is still a good idea, once the ground thaws, to check for drying soil conditions. Cold weather has a tremendous drying effect. Areas of greatest concern are under overhangs and in raised planters/containers. If you have areas where natural precipitation is either deficient or exposed by being above the ground, take time to water these plants as soon as possible.
While excessive soil salinity is normally a more ‘northern’ states issue, it is possible in the south. If ice melt products are used as directed, there should be no concern. However, the ‘more is better’ mindset sometimes prevails. If you have concerns, either: pray for rain, or run a sprinkler. Plants of greatest susceptibility are: white pines, roses, azaleas, rhododendrons and yews…a few points to keep in mind, in the milder days ahead.