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Kansas City Landscaping dodged a bullet

City gardeners can breathe a sigh of relief that we did not reach the forecasted lows last of week of -20. For many years, we have been lulled into thinking that we may have shifted into zone 6. However, it only takes one very to ensure that we are truly a zone 5 area. The plant hardiness zones are based on the average lowest temperatures for a 10 year period. We are about to reset those if we approach -20 degrees. Plants are rated to their zones based on laboratory tests as well as the experiences of growers in the fields. Plants rated as hardy to Zone 5 generally survive low temperatures of -10 to -20 degrees. Zone 6 plants are only expected to survive to -10 degrees.

Of course, zones are only part of the answer to how your plants will during this cold snap. Zones define large areas, but not small microclimates that exist around your home. If your plants lie in a low lying area or out on a windswept plain, they are going to have considerably more exposure to cold temperatures than if they are nestled in a protected courtyard, along a south facing wall or on the wayward side of a hill.

That being said, many plants in City are going to suffer from this cold. Dan Simmons of Show-Me Horticulture and I were talking about what effect this could have on plants. We both agreed that a few of the standouts are plants that have started being popular at retail nurseries lately despite being unproven (or proven poorly) to thrive with very such as this years. A few plants that are going to be strongly affected are southern Magnolias such as Bracken Brown Beautys, , azaleas, rhododendrons and other . These are all plants better suited to Zone 6. They may have done quite well in City the last several years, but will be well-tested this to see if they have enough protection to survive the extremes.

Even a few proven plants will still be stressed. Boxwoods, yews, and many will likely show some damage come next from the prolonged cold combined with dry winds that we have experienced over the last several weeks. Another group of plants that will very likely show some signs of stress will be some of the ornamental grasses such as the ornamental fescues, the Japanese Silver grasses and the fountain grasses. Some of the larger such as Zelkova, Golden Rain Tree, dogwoods and redbuds could suffer some superficial damage to outermost branches as well.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to protect your plants now. If your plants went into the relatively healthy and unstressed they will have a much better chance of survival than if they were stressed already. Newly planted plants will have a harder time than older, more established plants. The snow that is insulating the ground is the biggest protection we have right now and this can be bolstered if you are inclined to pile snow around the crowns of your most valuable plants. Another option that can be helpful is to build a windscreen around to help protect them. Lastly, to help plants bounce back as much as possible, give them a good slow soaking of water as soon as the ground thaws and repeat at least monthly throughout the . This will help immensely as your plants begin to heal their wounds.

This will be quite revealing as we learn a lesson of what plants truly are able to survive City’s coldest temperatures. We will be better gardeners if we observe and learn from what nature teaches this week and choose plants that will thrive in City even during when it is at its coldest.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit me at www.HamonsLandscaping.com or posting questions as a comment to this post. I enjoy talking to other plant lovers and answering any questions you might have.

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Simple but Elegant Rain Garden Project in Kansas City

Kansas City Rain Garden

Rain Gardens can be a great way to solve landscaping problems in City.  can use them to effectively deal with drainage issues that have been plaguing homeowners for years and are often  better solution than simply sending the water further down the hill to the neighbors yard.

Here is a concept rendering for a rain I will be installing soon in a customer’s landscape.  I will chronicle this build and update the with its progress including before and after shots.

If you have any questions about rain gardens please be sure to leave a comment and I would be happy to share what I know,.

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Preparing your Landscape for Ice Storm in Kansas City KC

City may soon be pounded by a severe storm.  If this is the case one of things you should be prepared for is the possible damage that could happen to all the valuable and you having your landscape.  can be very damaging to both people and plants in your landscape. Fortunately, there is a few things you can do to prepare or protect your plants from the upcoming damage.

Arborvitaes and Junipers

These multi stem evergreen can be protected by tying all of the leaders together in the middle. This will protect them from becoming damaged by splitting in the middle from the weight of the .

Small High-Value Specimen (Japanese maples, etc)

These can be protected by placing burlap or plastic over the top of the canopy — This will distribute the weight of the amongst all the branches and help prevent major Breakage.

Young with Low Limbs

If you have young with low overhanging limbs these can be supported with 2×4′s, shovels, or anything else that will help bear the weight.  Place the brace about 1/4 of the total length of the branch away from the trunk.

, especially evergreens, can be split by the weight of on individual branches, I highly recommend that you go out and a piece of cord around the middle of theses and then possibly place a piece of burlap or plastic over the top of the shrub.With these few preparations your landscape will be better off if City is hit with major this week.  However, it won’t protect your larger , which are also very susceptible to losing limbs that get too heavy.   Unfortunately, there is nothing we will be able to do that will prevent these limbs from breaking off now.   If this occurs, check back with the and I will give some advice on the best way to repair damaged and .As Gary says, Prepare for the worst and HOPE for the best

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