Unseasonal weather can have an impact on some plants

Unseasonal warm weather was a welcome break from winter in Alberta. The weather will have little effect on hardy plants but might be detrimental for some of the tender ones. Transpiration rate of evergreens increases as the temperature increases. Roots of cedar and junipers that were not completely hydrated in the fall might not be able to replace the moisture lost from the needles and scales.

Unseasonal warm weather was a welcome break from winter in Alberta.

The weather will have little effect on hardy plants but might be detrimental for some of the tender ones. Transpiration rate of evergreens increases as the temperature increases.

Roots of cedar and junipers that were not completely hydrated in the fall might not be able to replace the moisture lost from the needles and scales.

When the evergreens lose too much moisture, the needles and scales turn a dull shade of green, then brown. On warm days, water the soil around junipers and cedars. Some, but not all, the moisture will make it to the plant’s roots.

Another method is to apply a spray that slows down plant transpiration. The anti-transpiration spray is water soluble and to be effective must be reapplied each time the plant becomes wet. The spray is available at most garden centres.

Covering the plants in burlap does not change the air temperature but it does block the direct sunlight and the glare from the snow from reaching the plant, helping to slow down transpiration.

Melting snow can cause large icicles to form. If the icicles form on plants, the weight can cause the branches to bend or break.

It is best to remove the icicles as soon as they appear. Bent plants will slowly begin to move upwards once the weight is removed.

If they do not regain their original shape, use a wide strip of cloth or plastic to tie the branches back into proper position. Remove the binding once the plant regains its proper shape. Snow insulates the ground, protecting roots from extreme and fluctuating temperature. Once snow melts, the protection is lost. Tender plants can be safeguarded by placing mulch in the fall or by replacing melted snow with snow from other parts of the yard. Make sure that the snow used does not have chemicals used for melting snow from walks. Use the warm weather to walk around the yard, looking for rodent damage. Pack snow around new plantings to remove the possibility of mice and voles tunnelling under the snow to feast on tender bark. Deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned at this time of year. Pruning is a relatively easy process if simple rules are followed.

The most common mistake in pruning is to leave a stub. Always cut back to another branch or bud. Any part of the branch that is left will die and eventually rot. The stub will look unattractive and has the potential to let insects and diseases into the plant. Cuts that are done correctly are smooth and heal.

Another mistake is to remove too much of the plant at one time.

When too much material is removed, the plant sends out a multitude of new branches in the form of water sprouts. Do not remove more that a quarter of a tree or shrub in any growing season.

Start by removing all dead wood. Then remove branches that are rubbing on another branch.

When given a choice, keep the strongest branch that is pointing in the correct direction. Lastly, shape the plant.

Prune to enhance the natural shape of the plant. Trying to keep a naturally tall tree as a shrub will require constant pruning as the plant will always revert to its natural shape. This is why short hedges often get trimmed two or three times a season. Spend time outside on warm days. There is always something to do in the garden.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist who lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Red Deer jumps to 449 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday

1,516 new cases identified in Alberta

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read