WINTER PROTECTION FOR YOUR FRUIT ORCHARD
Some people live right on the edge of a planting zone, and are close to being in the next zone further north. If you are uncertain if your plants or fruit trees will survive, steps can be taken.
I planted blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries on the south side of two of my buildings. This gives them a little shelter from the blast of winter winds coming out of the north in the hope of coaxing them to survive.
Frigid wind chill in the Winter is a lot like “freezer burn.” Drying wind in the Summertime can take the moisture right out of a tree.
Planting a tree, bush, or vine on the south side of a building, and especially up against a brick wall will help them to better soak up heat from the sun.
RELATED ARTICLE: WHAT IS A PLANTING ZONE?
USE A BLANKET OF LEAVES
Winter protection can also be achieved by putting wire rings around the plants or the base of the tree and filling them with leaves. As the leaves gradually settle down, they’ll sweat, and produce enough heat to help the plants survive the cold weather.
NOTE: This also works great with roses.
You see Preppers on television making shelters out of branches and covering them with piles of leaves for warmth. Do not use walnut leaves. They exude a chemical that is bad for other plants.
RELATED ARTICLE: CHOOSING THE PERFECT FRUIT TREE
REMOVE HEAVY SNOW AND ICE ON BRANCHES
Dealing with the cold is bad enough, but the added weight of snow and ice can shorten the life of a tree. Heavy snow or ice can easily crack or break limbs, even if the cold does not kill the tree. If a tree limb cracks, you might just as well cut it off immediately for there is no way a crack can heal itself. It can only get worse.
Eventually, a cracked limb will break and fall to the ground. I have had sizable tree limbs hit the ground right where I had been mowing the lawn hours earlier.
Knock snow off of the branches. Push them back up if you see they are bent way over under the weight of the snow.
AVOID PLANTING IN A “FROST POCKET”
The lowest area on your property is where cold air settles and will stick around the longest. This is known as a “frost pocket.” Don’t plant a tree in this area or the cold weather will nip the buds, and you will lose your fruit crop. It helps to seek out late blooming fruit varieties that could bypass potential frost damage.
NOTE: Take advantage of “Micro Climates” on your property. Make a note of where snow melts the quickest in the Spring. Those areas of your yard are where the ground is naturally the warmest. Plant there!
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan
For more in-depth information on GROWING YOUR OWN FRUIT