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View Full Version : Not planting until Spring - bought plants - best course of action?


AmyL
10-27-2012, 07:04 PM
Good Day,

First of all - sorry if this is placed in the wrong forums...


Okay so I want to start landscaping and just starting all over. I bought some plants 'cause they were on sale (since it's getting cold). Can't plant them now and need to wait for spring

So... 2 nurseries told me 2 different things

#1- You gotta place them indoor or in a insulated garage... can't let root freeze or they will die. Water infrequently, they need some sun

#2- They are outdoor plants and you shouldn't have them indoors. What kills a plant is "shock" not the freezing of roots or whatnot - quick changes in temperature. If you wanted them indoor make sure you keep them in the garage and NOT indoors where it is warm. Recommended to water them well then huddle the plants together and cover their pots with mulch. That should insulate and keep them alive during the winter months - since temperature changes etc, happen gradually. Keep them in less windy areas if possible


I live on the border of Detroit, Michigan (in Windsor, Ontario, Canada)

Plants:
- 2 Blue Point Spirals
- 2 Blue Point Poodles
- 1 Juniper Blue Alps (weird thing for this plant is... can't keep to find it in google... wrong name?)

- Plan to get a few more plants

Pictures:
#1 - Plants
#2+3 - Definitively getting
4+ - will get

Suggestions

Giestimator
10-27-2012, 09:03 PM
You can keep them outside just mulch them in. By that keep them stacked close how you have them and just pile mulch around them. You can also keep them in a garage but they will be ok outdoors.

larryinalabama
10-27-2012, 09:12 PM
Nice looking stuff, it may be worth paying one of us lawn fellers to get that stuff in the ground, alot of fellers will work "cheap" this time of year.

The reason you got a "deal" ont them is because it will be a challange to keep them potted over the winter. If the pots freeze for a long period of time they wont survive, and evergreens aand or conifers wont survive in a gargue. Not to mention the effort to keep them over winter may exceed the effort to plant them now.

Giestimator
10-27-2012, 09:39 PM
So Larry if the ground freezes plants die? What do the nurseries do? Up here in oh where he frost line is 32" down we mulch in plants to store them over the winter. Works just fine. And they will also do ok in garage or pole barn that is not heated. They go dormant in both situations, inside they are protected from snow load

larryinalabama
10-27-2012, 09:50 PM
So Larry if the ground freezes plants die? What do the nurseries do? Up here in oh where he frost line is 32" down we mulch in plants to store them over the winter. Works just fine. And they will also do ok in garage or pole barn that is not heated. They go dormant in both situations, inside they are protected from snow load

I was not tryoing to start a debat, I was just trying to make a point that planting the stuff would be the best route of success.

Enjoy your cold axx weather lol.

GreenI.A.
10-28-2012, 01:17 AM
the reason mulching them in works is that the mulch will provide enough insulation to prevent quick changes in temperatures to the roots. It is perfectly fine for the roots to freeze, you just do not want quick freeze/thaw cycles.

Smallaxe
10-28-2012, 10:56 AM
You can plant up until the ground freezes and be sure to SOAK them in good... winterkill is simply dessication... Same with leaving them in pots...
I actually dig pots into the ground and then finish mulching over the top...

it is RISKY to let those pots freeze above ground surrounded only by mulch... placing them inside is probably the riskiest of all... afriend of mine tried the garage experiment with perennials and even they died b4 Spring made it...

AmyL
10-28-2012, 10:34 PM
You can plant up until the ground freezes and be sure to SOAK them in good... winterkill is simply dessication... Same with leaving them in pots...
I actually dig pots into the ground and then finish mulching over the top...

it is RISKY to let those pots freeze above ground surrounded only by mulch... placing them inside is probably the riskiest of all... afriend of mine tried the garage experiment with perennials and even they died b4 Spring made it...

Well problem is... the ground is waaaaaay too hard to dig into and the bigger problem is, we are going to redo the entire front lot (which currently is occupied with giant weeds - back yard = grass)

So I guess, if I placed much not only around them but under the plants - does that make it any better?

Shawn S
10-28-2012, 11:07 PM
I am not a plant expert, but what I am gathering from above is that you could dig a hole in the ground, drop the entire thign in pot and all, cover with a layer of mulch like you would normally do when planting, and then pull it up pot and all in the spring.
I am in South Dakota, the ground freezes hard here too, but it certainly isn't impossible to dig into. We had broken out the jackhammer in February to dig an egress window well hole, but I can't believe your ground is frozen so hard now that you can't dig a pot sized hole.
It looks like you have a fair amount of money into those plants. Hire a temp worker to dig some holes for you if needed.

RAlmaroad
10-29-2012, 06:23 AM
First since you're going to re-landscape, find you a sheltered side of your home away from wind. Most of your bad wind will be from the NNW. It would be nice if it got some sun also or a southern exposure. Like mentioned hire someone to dig a trench close to the house and as deep as possible--you're going to have to get that root ball covered and mulch way up on the trunk of those plants. Don't mulch the bottom as this will let cold air around the roots.
I know how cold and bitter the Ohio weather as I had an aunt in Cleveland. The wind will burn these tender "Hot House" specimen plants. After "Hilling In", wrap them with some frost cloth to protect them further from the wind.
But DO NOT Garage them and give them a little water on a warm day (If you ever have them) I still wrap my Japanese Maples to protect them from wind in TN. You'll be fine.

Smallaxe
10-29-2012, 07:24 AM
Even when surrounded by "mulch", your pot will likely be frozen solid by the time the top 4" of the earth is frozen... and will begin to thaw on a warm sunny day, especially as late Feb rolls around...

Not only will the mulch not be very effective above the earth,,, but the pot will not hold enough water to prevent dessication from the cold air and especially wind... use a pickaxe if necessary,,, but get those pots in the earth, soak them down and mulch over the top...

That method is as foolproof as correctly planting them... continue to water until the mulch is either frozen to the topsoil or under snow...

AmyL
11-03-2012, 08:40 PM
Okay question - assuming I can't get a landscaper to dig me a trench... I have two options

1- Place plants under the deck - almost no wind. Buttom is concrete not grass though - water, then mulch 'em in.... now it's concrete... so...

2- Place them on grass, water them, mulch 'em in - may be windy-ish

Which of the two is better?

AmyL
11-03-2012, 09:21 PM
^Sorry site won't let me edit - have to repost:

Okay question - assuming I can't get a landscaper to dig me a trench... I have two options

1- Place plants under the deck - almost no wind. Buttom is concrete not grass though - water, then mulch 'em in.... now it's concrete... so...

2- Place them on grass, water them, mulch 'em in - may be windy-ish

Which of the two is better?

EDITING: Okay I need to be honest here... I'm a pathetic excuse for a female (oh and I live alone for the nest 6 months)- I can't lift 40 pounds worth of stuff - much less dig a hole that will fit a 140++ pound plant (the larger one is). I can dig a large not-so-deep hole and toss the plants in then cover with mulch. Would this work? A hole that may not cover the entire pot, then water it, then mulch it. If I have to, I could remove the mulch during the winter and water it every so often. Problem is... we're fully landscaping and we got actual rocks! Yes rocks... the person before us had a drive way build and filled the ground with pebbles/rocks or something - hence the total landscaping... so planting is not an option. The backyard is for grass and that has already been layed so I don't want to disrupt it but digging holes there (at least temporary holes).

Smallaxe
11-04-2012, 12:00 PM
The mulch above the soil line may not be the best, but it may be adequate, i.e., succussful... I would not mulch with leaves, because of rodents more than anything, but rather heap on as many woodchips as possibble... water the roots well and water the wood chips well and yes,,, add water during the winter as needed... :)

Kiril
11-04-2012, 01:04 PM
Amy,

Just put them under your deck and follow suggestion #2 in your original post and "mulch" the pots with something like snow for example. If you need to, put up a temporary wind screen and preferably keep them out of full sun.

AmyL
11-04-2012, 11:23 PM
So.. going to do this tomorrow...

Huddle plants together under the deck (the ground under there is made out of concrete and that's fine right??? not grass), don't mulch under them (as it will let cold air around the roots), but around and on them. Water the roots/mulch initially then as needed.

FYI I'm using the red mulch you buy at the stores.

Smallaxe
11-05-2012, 09:50 AM
Sounds like that will work as well as you can do,,, be sure there's enough mulch to keep your pots from busting open at 20 below zero... good luck...

Kiril
11-05-2012, 10:45 AM
FYI I'm using the red mulch you buy at the stores.

If by mulch you mean wood chips, I might suggest using something that is more dense (i.e. less air voids), like compost or snow.

AmyL
11-05-2012, 07:03 PM
Okay last post I promise (I hope)

I read somewhere (google) that cardboard boxes will actually work for a base. I have a TON of those and was thinking I can place those under the plants (under the deck, on top of the cement - same area) instead of the cement 'cause I remember reading somewhere (in school) that cement holds temp (aka the cold) and wouldn't that possibly transmit it to the roots

Thoughts?

Thanks for everyone's help

Smallaxe
11-06-2012, 11:40 AM
Just be careful of your insulating material doesn't hold too much water and freezes into a solid block of dirty ice... your pots need to be surrounded by relatively dry material and as long at the boxes don't help hold water in your mulch they should be fine...
yes, a layer of cardboard on top of cement is better than sitting on cement...

Are you covering the pots and their mulch with something???

RAlmaroad
11-06-2012, 11:59 AM
Amy: Instead of mulch (woodchips) just buy many bags of a quality black topsoil (manure/compost) and use a lot of it on your plants. What do you mean by the ground is concrete? No ground is concrete. Anyway, you can reuse your compost/manure topsoil mix for the transplant in the spring. A lot of people lay a patio tree rose down and cover the whole thing (top and all) up for the winter and they survive well. You might do well to just call a nursery and let one of their guys come out and do it for you. I see you have a lot invested in a few plants. Why not spend a little more and be safe.

Kiril
11-06-2012, 12:13 PM
A lot of people lay a patio tree rose down and cover the whole thing (top and all) up for the winter and they survive well. You might do well to just call a nursery and let one of their guys come out and do it for you. I see you have a lot invested in a few plants. Why not spend a little more and be safe.

May work for some deciduous plants, but I wouldn't bury an evergreen.

yes, a layer of cardboard on top of cement is better than sitting on cement.

Why? What is cardboard going to provide that the bottom of the pot doesn't already?

Smallaxe
11-07-2012, 09:42 AM
It will be best to find a local guy, who has gone through severe winter as a gardener, to look at what you've done and secure the plants... :)