Don’t Rush Spring Cleanup, Observe and Learn

Depending on your age, you may have never experienced such harsh cold temperatures in your lifetime. I remember the cold of 1983 which, at the time I was working as a greenhouse grower, and anyone with a greenhouse know why sleeping may not be an option.  Extreme weather does bring with it a new set of problems.
If you are wondering how your outdoor plantings are doing, there are a few things to consider.
The snow was a good thing.  It insulated low growing perennials and ground covers.   Snow can insulate irrigation systems that were not winterized. Be prepared for damage once things thaw.  Upon startup check for leaks especially in valve boxes.
If you have Crape Myrtle, Butterfly Bush, and Hybrid Roses, It is likely there will be winter dieback.  Don’t rush out and immediately cut them down to the ground.  Use some patience.  Give them sufficient time this Spring to show signs of life.  Prune away only what is obvious.  I recommend waiting at least until Mother’s Day on plants like Crape Myrtle and Butterfly Bush.  They are always the last to the party.
We were fortunate to have received some moisture beforehand this Winter,  This hydrated and protected the evergreens, needled and broadleaf. The tips of Euonymus, Boxwood, and Holly may be burned and could require trimming.  Some plants that normally keep their leaves, may drop them. Some varieties of Euonymus, Manhattan being one, will defoliate and will leaf back out in Spring.
It is possible some fruit has been damaged.  It is too early to tell.  Go ahead and treat your orchard as if it is business as usual, in the event your crop was not damaged.
Temperatures will be heading back into the normal range this weekend, the snow and ice will melt.  You will have to let your soils dry and warm. You can then get out in the garden and begin preparing it for planting.
In the meantime, stick to the plan, do what you can when the time is right.
It is time to start many of your seeds.  If you’re new to seed starting, it’s not difficult to do, but timing and technique can be the difference between success and failure.
If you have any questions about seeding, pruning or plant recovery we are here for you.