Today the snow is melting almost as quickly as it falls. Not the case for most of the 2012-2013 winter. The Valley got snow in mid-December that stayed on the ground well into February, held there by one of the coldest winters on record. Mid-January found us 12 degrees BELOW zero F. Brrrrrr! Uncomfortable for us, possibly deadly for some of your plants.
The USDA publishes a map of “Plant Hardiness Zones,” listing the Grand Valley as zone 7a, with winter lows in the 0 to 5 degrees F ABOVE range.
What?! Your friends here at Mt Garfield think of the Grand Valley as a zone 6, with winter lows usually in the -5 to 0F range in a good year, and lows in the -10 to -5F in a cold year. This winter’s -12F would place us in zone 5! These numbers are very important to your perennials, shrubs and trees.
Mt Garfield sells plants that are generally hardy to zone 6–usual for the Grand Valley. Zone 6 plants should survive as far as temperatures go…usually. Not all plants survive anyway, because they are living things and susceptible to variations of microclimates, soils, exposure, insect and disease attacks, and water availability. However, this winter’s low, low temperatures may result in more winter-kill than usual.
As the weather warms and plants begin to break dormancy, you may find some of your perennials, shrubs, roses, fruit, or trees didn’t survive. Some plants are naturally slow to leaf out in the spring, so check around before pulling a plant out and replacing it.
Gardening is a joy, but can be frustrating at times. Especially when Mother Nature keeps us in the deep freeze or sends a plague of squash bugs! Your friends here at Mt Garfield are here to help with fertilizers, insecticides, soils, and healthy plants. Being gardeners ourselves, we understand and share the ups and downs of growing things. We’re happy for you when your garden thrives, and sad right along with you when winter kills your favorite rose.
Here’s to the start of another gardening season here in the Grand Valley, looking forward to first blossoms and the persistence to keep on gardening, no matter what Mother Nature brings!