Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Protection for Precious Plants

As you can see here, this little tree has a collar.  It's not particularly dashing, but it does the trick.  There's a few things to know about this tree and why it has its lovely plastic accessory.  First, it's a laceleaf lilac (Syringa lacinata) on a standard.  Normally, it likes to be a mid-size shrub and has finely cut leaves, with fragrant lavendar flowers in May.  We got these in by mistake at the nursery, so they ended up being freebies.  My boss is curious to know how it survives this winter.  No one wanted them, really, so I have one as well as my parents and in-laws.  They are all in very different sites and soils, so it will be a good experiment. 

Because this tree is thin barked, it needs protection from the bunnies.  They already snacked on it back in early November!  You might wonder why it isn't covered all the way to the graft union.  Well, this tree is on the north side of the garage, so it doesn't get the harsh winter sun that say, the lilac, does.  It just needs the rabbit protection.  White plastic or even tan tree wrap is best for this type of use because it reflects sunlight.  Never use black plastic or wrap because it will absorb the sunlight and create a warm area on the bark.  This thaws out the cells and makes them turgid, only to freeze again when the sun goes down, causing cracks in the bark tissue.  Not good! 

The little tree is loaded with buds for spring and so far is hanging in.  I'll report back on its progress! 

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