I have been known to say that spring time is my favorite season. This miraculous time of year never ceases to amaze me. Amazement is defined as a feeling of great surprise or wonder. That just about says it all for the Spring of 2015. I am in awe of the wonder of nature and I am surprised at the winter damage to our plants and turf.
Some marginally hardy plants such as Hydrangea (macrophylla type), Roses, and Butterfly Bush are slow to leaf out and many have been killed back to ground level. Other shrubs, known to be very hardy in this area such as Viburnum, Forsythia, and Rhododendron also took a beating.
In many cases, leaf out is limited to branches that were insulated by snow. As seen with this Viburnum (pictured right), parts subjected to wind and sub zero temperatures appear to be dead, showing no signs of new growth. Give your plants at least until the end of May to to make your assessment. Either damaged plants will need aggresssive pruning or will need to be replaced all together. This Viburnum required aggressive pruning to ¼ of the original plant.
The Viburnum (pictured to the left) is rated with a hardiness of zone 5 (-20°). Sweeping winds and freezing cold days, nearing it's tolerance level, left this plant 90% dead. Last June, the same Viburnum in full bloom was a picture perfect specimen.
Also, on my shock list is damaged plant material from deer, rabbits, and moles. When the snow finally melted, many lawns looked like explosions had taken place (as one client described) as moles tunneled, creating a maze as they searched for a food source. I was amazed at the plant damage caused by rabbits this year. Typically, rabbits nibble and eat the bark at ground level, causing considerable damage to the base of a plant. However, with the deep snow of this winter, rabbits had a broader reach, destroying bark to much greater heights.
Going forward, it will be important to give our plants additional attention to help recover from the winter.
Prune to encourage new growth.
Fertilize to provide essential nutrients.
Provide additional water when needed.
A good plant material maintenance program includes a 2" layer of mulch. Control weeds to minimize weed competition for water and nutrients. Preemergent weed control can be an effective tool to keep weeds to a minimum.
If we can be of assistance, give us a call or drop us an email.