This winter was a tough one! In my area, we have had very low temperatures, lots of snow and major extremes in wind chills. We have broken weather records of 30 to 40 years ago. We have had snow coverage most of the winter and guess what it is starting to do outside as I write this post? It is starting to snow, again. Am I ready for spring? You bet!
As tough as this weather has been on people, it has been harder on the plants in the garden. We can stay inside, snug and warm, while our plants suffer outside. Most of my plants are dormant and under the ground. With snow coverage, they are insulated from the low temperatures, but for many shrubs and trees, this winter has been and continues to be difficult.
When the weather allows, I walk around the garden and observe my plants. I have found one small tree that is now dead and several others that are not looking very good. I know that there was nothing that I could have done to save them. I plan to leave them in the ground, hope for a miracle and wait to see what spring brings. One of the trees that I lost was a cedar that had been in the garden for about three years. It was for my zone, due to a recent zone change, but one that I knew could be a problem if we had a very BAD winter.
Starting next week we should see a nice warm up and some of the snow should melt away. That will be a good time to survey the garden for winter damage. If you start surveying your garden for winter damage, be aware that some damage will not show up until summer. Look for broken or dead limbs, cracking of bark on trees, lack of new growth, bark damage due to animals and browning of needles, leaves or buds. If you have lots of browning, the plant may not be able to recover fully due to it's weaken state. When warm weather returns, study your garden plants and decide what you will need to do to get your garden back on track for the new growing season.
Happy Gardening and Happy Valentine's Day!