• How Will the Winter of 2014 Impact Landscape?

  • Certainly this has been a drastic winter, both from a human and a from a landscape perspective.  The abnormally low temperature coupled with increased snowfall and ice will likely cause damage to trees, shrubs and perennials planted in 2013.  Even mature holly and boxwood will likely see damage from windburn and the weight of snow piling on fragile limbs.

    More mature plants will weather the storm better because of stronger branch structures and substantial root systems.  Nevertheless, expect damage there too, just not as dramatic.

    So, how do we prepare our favorite plants in the future to handle these weather extremes?  Here are a few basics, and they apply for summer droughts too:

    • Plant the right plant in the right place.  Seems pretty basic, but it works.  A plant that thrives in moist shade should be planted in … a moist shady area.
    • Don’t be tempted to plant out of its comfort zone.  The Indianapolis area is a solid Zone 5.  Stick to that and you will be safe, don’t stretch it to a Zone 6 unless you are prepared to lose your favorite azalea in a few years.  Sure, there are some tempting Crepe Myrtles just a few hundred miles south from here.  But they are not meant for our zone.
    • Mulch works.  And use the good stuff.  No recycled pallets and railroad ties in mine.  If plants go naked, expect the consequences.
    • Proper pruning makes a big difference, particularly with mature trees, to spread the load correctly and for healthy plants.
    • Fertilize correctly.  Flowering shrubs like to be fed what flowering plants like … not what your favorite yew likes.


    Hope that helps.