We are fortunate, here in southeastern Wisconsin, to have received abundant snowfall immediately prior to the arrival of a frigid, subzero airmass. This thick blanket of snow will act as insulation for plants and provide valuable protection from wintry winds and bitter temperatures.
One silver lining of this record-breaking cold period is that it will likely cause high mortality to some destructive insects. Studies conducted by the U.S. Forest Service indicate that large numbers (up to 90%) of Emerald Ash Borer larvae, which overwinter under the bark of trees, will not survive when temperatures drop below -23 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, populations of ticks and of Japanese beetles are less likely to be affected as these both overwinter on or in the ground, under the protection of insulating snow cover.
What about birds? During these periods of extreme cold it is especially important to keep your bird feeders stocked. High fat foods such as black oils sunflower seed and suet are ideal.
Once spring arrives, if you do not see growth on your garden plants, be patient. Even if top growth is killed on vulnerable shrubs it is still possible for rootstock to remain viable and for plants to re-grow from the base.
In the meantime, as we await spring’s arrival…try to enjoy the beauty of these crisp winter days, bundle up when you go outdoors, and come see us at the Gardens. We’re here 9:00am – 5:00pm Tuesday through Saturday. While we’re busy re-designing the shop, unpacking new spring products, and generally preparing for the upcoming season we still miss seeing you and would love to have you stop by to “talk plants”.