Friday, January 12, 2007

Cold Weather in the Garden

Every day winter sinks in a little deeper. It is dry but the high temps are close to freezing with the lows below 20. We have moved all of the tropical/tender plants into the garage so they will be OK, but as the cold sinks deeper into the soil, I worry about some of the border-line plants in the garden...Especially the Hebe's; last year Hebe 'Blue Mist' came through the winter with no damage at all, this year will be a real test. The Daphne leaves are a little droopy, but they will perk up once it warms up.

My main concern for the plants in the garden is dehydration, plant roots can't draw up the moisture from the soil when the ground is frozen. Even though the plants are dormant, or nearly dormant, they still loose moisture through their leaves and branches; evergreen plants are especially at risk for cold damage. LSU Ag Center has a good audio file about plants and wind chill. Plants don't feel cold like people do, so the cold from the wind doesn't really damage them, the damage comes from the wind removing moisture from the plant faster than the roots can replace it.

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