November To Do List
Cold Weather Warning
We are expecting a cold front this weekend to hit the Fraser Valley. Since we have had very mild weather up until this point in time, the -3 degree temperatures have the potential to cause damage to softer plants which in a typical fall would have had the chance to harden off before this hard of a frost.
We encourage you to protect your softer plants such as Palm Trees as well as covering or bringing softer plants inside before the cold weather.
November To Do List
Winterizing Marginal Plants For West Coast Winters
Though our winters are quite mild on the coast, we do get the occasional cold spell and dip in temperatures that the more exotic non-native plants are loathe to suffer through. Our soggy climate is another challenge we, as owners of temperate specimens, have to contend with. A few simple preparations in the late fall/early winter will ensure survival of your tropical treasure, and give the specimen a head start in the spring once the growing season commences.
The best way to retain your palm tree through a nasty winter is to wrap it in heat cables, which can be purchased at any good hardware store. Mulch the base of the palm with leaves or composted bark for extra insulation for the root crown.
See here for more detail of the process of wrapping your palms for winter
Hardy Bananas (Musa basjoo) and Gunnera:
Prune the leaves off of the plant, using them to cover the base before adding some additional leaves for root insulation. If you would like to keep the stalk of your banana the height that it has grown to that year, place a wire cage—chicken wire is inexpensive and works well—loosely around the plant and fill with leaves.
Give them a very light prune (unless they are climbers, then you can be quite a bit more aggressive) to prevent damage through wind rock on the root system. Mulch the base, covering the bud union, with composted bark or coarse peat.
Evergreen Broadleaf Topiaries (Privet, Photinia, etc):
Once again, mulch the base of the plant with composted bark or leaf debris. If the weather turns quite cold, windy, and dry, wrap the plant loosely with burlap to prevent dehydration of the foliage.
Vines (Clematis, Passion Flower, Kiwis, Jasmine etc):
Cover base with composted bark mulch or leaves to insulate the root system in severe weather. Even if the existing above ground vines perish, the vine can regenerate from the root crown in the spring.
New Zealand Flax (Phormium):
New Zealand Flax intensely dislikes cold, drying winds, and rot is often a problem. Cover plant with Reemay cloth/frost cover; it holds off frost, retains heat, and does not crush foliage. Remove snow as soon as possible if any falls. Phormium tenax ‘Atropurpureum’ is the most hardy of the phormiums, but even it can die right down to the ground from the cold. Often it will re-sprout from the roots in the spring.
Leaves will drop year-round from the evergreen magnolias, even when in perfect health, so do not be concerned if you observe this. The branches are quite brittle, so make sure that any snow or ice accumulation is brushed off as soon as possible from the tree. To prevent dehydration from drying winds, apply an anti-transpirant like Wilt-Pruf to the foliage. Keep in mind that new growth and buds can be damaged by frosts, similar to damage observed in early-blooming deciduous magnolias. Stop fertilizing or pruning after July to October, and spread a layer of mulch 2-6” away from the trunk of the tree.