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Kansas City Landscaping dodged a bullet

Kansas 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 area. The are based on the average lowest temperatures for a 10 year period. We are about to reset those if we approach -20 degrees. are rated to their zones based on laboratory tests as well as the experiences of growers in the fields. rated as hardy to generally survive low temperatures of -10 to -20 degrees. Zone 6 are only expected to survive to -10 degrees.

Of course, zones are only part of the answer to how your will during this cold snap. Zones define large areas, but not small microclimates that exist around your home. If your 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 in Kansas City are going to suffer from this cold. of Show-Me Horticulture and I were talking about what effect this could have on . We both agreed that a few of the standouts are that have started being popular at retail nurseries lately despite being unproven (or proven poorly) to thrive with very cold winters such as this years. A few that are going to be strongly affected are southern Magnolias such as Bracken Brown Beautys, , azaleas, and other . These are all better suited to Zone 6. They may have done quite well in Kansas City the last several years, but will be well-tested this winter to see if they have enough protection to survive the extremes.

Even a few proven will still be stressed. Boxwoods, yews, and many will likely show some damage come next spring from the prolonged cold combined with dry winds that we have experienced over the last several weeks. Another group of 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 , Golden 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 now. If your went into the winter relatively healthy and unstressed they will have a much better chance of survival than if they were stressed already. Newly planted will have a harder time than older, more established . The that is insulating the ground is the biggest protection we have right now and this can be bolstered if you are inclined to pile around the crowns of your most valuable . Another option that can be helpful is to build a windscreen around to help protect them. Lastly, to help bounce back as much as possible, give them a good slow soaking of as soon as the ground thaws and repeat at least monthly throughout the winter. This will help immensely as your begin to heal their wounds.

This spring will be quite revealing as we learn a lesson of what truly are able to survive Kansas City’s coldest temperatures. We will be better gardeners if we observe and learn from what nature teaches this week and choose that will thrive in Kansas 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 blog post. I enjoy talking to other plant lovers and answering any questions you might have.

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