So how did the garden fare over the 2010 winter? Well not so great. From July through December, only 4.8 inches of snowfall was recorded at the official DIA weather station. This is the second lowest half season snowfall on record, and a dry winter can take its toll on non-native plants. For more information on Denver weather statistics from year to year go to NOAA’s site.
With a dryer than normal winter and a cold snap in January, the dessicating winds of winter have left many of my evergreens with varying degrees of winterburn. The best method to avoid burn is watering plants in winter. My plants are showing the result of not watering enough to make up for the lack of winter precipitation in Denver. Colorado State University Extension suggests you should apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub and I would suspect that would go for transplanted shrubs as well.
Other ways to avoid winterburn is by decreasing the evapotranspiration that normally occurs in winter. Some sights suggest wrapping plants with burlap or other material that still allows the plant to breath but are less exposed. This is not practical for plants you use for winter interest, like my Alberta Spruce who is nearly the ONLY winter interest I have so far in the new front bed. Maybe I should reconsider and get a couple red-twigged dogwoods to help.
There are also products you can spray on the plants, like Wilt-Pruf, Nu-Film, VaporGuard, and Stressguard. These create a barrier over the pores in leaves that reduces water loss while still allowing the plant to breathe. I may test this on a small portion of plant next year.
So will they survive? Only summer will tell.
I know the Juniperus Conferta – All Gold (see picture- Gold Juniper) takes a licking every year and manages to find a way to come back. It was originally planted in 2007.
Picea glauca ‘Conica’ – Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Planted early spring 2010.
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ — Blue Star Juniper. This was originally planted in 2009, and transplanted early fall 2010.