Thursday, May 18, 2017

Third Time - NO Charm

We're close to the end of May and we're still getting snow and cold weather...this is no third time weather event that is in any way charming. It's more like..."really, we have to worry about more landscape carnage, haven't we had enough already!!" 

Covering is about the best thing you can do as shown in my photos below. It looks like a weather gone south make-do camping set up, but what else is one to do? We had the pvc pipes, rebar stakes, screen fabric, plastic sheeting, row covers and various tables, chairs and tomato cages...time to get creative!

My plan starting yesterday (Wednesday) was to use perforated shade cloth over hoops and structures to allow moisture to the plants and to keep our favorite perennials and shrubs from getting too schmushed. Later today I'll add thick floating row covers for warmth over other plantings, we're supposed to get down below freezing tonight and Friday night. Earlier I covered the leafy greens with row cover then plastic on top. It's wise not to put plastic directly over foliage, which only transfers damaging cold. Don't hesitate to use plastic garbage cans or large tubs as long as the plants aren't touching the plastic.  
For my final act of landscape protection before calling it a day - I'll cross my fingers, do a stop the snow dance and pray (not necessarily in that order). 

The photo to the right looks technical, but it's just a very large perforated shade cloth over three tall tomato cages, plus some old wire fencing lower right to protect the side of the shrub. There are three Mini Man™viburnums under there, I love these shrubs and just want them to stay nice and bushy and happy!

I'm proud of myself for thinking of this contraption - it's a square metal outdoor table plus two side chairs over lemon balm, oregano and other herbs. 

The tunnels over this area failed Wednesday night so I had to think fast. They got smashed from overnight rain, but I'm optimistic they will pull through. If not, I'll prune any broken stems or a deeper prune, they'll grow back quickly in a matter of days to a couple of weeks. Either way, all the storm stressed plants will receive some half strength fertilizer in a few days.

The tunnel set up below is iffy for holding up through another snowy night. Snow adds weight which may collapse the whole thing. I'll stretch the shade cloth late tonight and hope for the best. Bottom right is a layer of floating row cover over some new perennials I couldn't resist planting a week ago. I'll probably add some plastic over the row cover for extra warmth and protection tonight. 

When it's all said and done, our plants are going to do and react accordingly after extreme weather events. Call your tree professional for limb damage removal and pruning. Clean up spent foliage and toss in the compost pile. Get back to the garden center for replacement plants but wait until after Memorial Day to plant, even then have a bucket or table on hand!

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