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We tend to think of summer as the time when we are busy working in our gardens. Also it is the time for tending to and focusing on hedge plants. While it’s true that this is the peak of activity for our green worlds. There is also plenty to be done in the colder months. The best ways to store your plants to protect them is worth some careful consideration. If you live somewhere with a mild climate it is ok. You may not need to worry too much about how to protect your plants from the cold. If you live somewhere with the potential for hard frosts and heavy snowfalls is a problem. You will need to take steps to protect your plants from freezing.
Why You May Need to Store Hedge Plants
Late autumn is a great time for planting hedges, because growth has slowed down for the year. Also the young plants which have weathered through the winter will be stronger than those planted in the spring. Very young hedges, known as bare-rooted whips, will use the cold months to put down roots. This will help them better cope with dry weather when summer comes. As they are much cheaper than buying established hedge plants – they are a popular option for getting a hedge going.
Some hedging plants, especially if purchased in root ball form, can only be planted in the winter. So they have to be moved when they are in their dormant state to avoid them going into shock and dying. However, you cannot plant them in frozen ground. That’s why you may find yourself needing to store them while you wait for conditions to improve a bit.
Although the end of the year is the ideal time for planting. Young plants ought to be put in the ground before the real cold weather hits (not in the snow, for example). However, the weather can be very unpredictable and might turn cold much faster than you expect. So it’s worth knowing what steps to take if you find yourself facing frozen or sodden soil with young plants on your hands. How you go about caring for the young plants will depend on what form you’ve purchased them in. Another factor is what space you have available for them.
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Storing Potted Hedge Plants
One of the more expensive ways of purchasing hedging plants is to buy those which have been grown in pots or containers. If this is the case for your plants, bear in mind that the pots themselves will not provide very much insulation and there won’t be a lot of soil around the roots to protect them, so you will need to move the pots into an area with shelter from the cold – like a shed or a greenhouse – to avoid the roots getting damaged. It’s not advisable to bring them into the house unless you have a cool storage space, as moving them from warmth to cold when you come to plant them might result in shock.
Plants do not generally like sudden changes to their environments. Provide your hedge plants with protection from any strong winds, putting up a shield or lying the pots down if necessary. Ensure that they are in well-drained soil, not saturated. Once the ground thaws, you will be able to remove them from their pots and plant them outside.
Storing Root Ball Hedging
If you have purchased root ball hedging, you will have plants with their roots wrapped in soil and a hessian sack. This sack can be left on during storage. Even when you come to plant the hedges, as it will naturally decompose and it will provide some insulation for the roots. Root ball hedging plants also ought to be stored in a cool, dry environment (not a warm one). It also needs to be sheltered from wind, and not exposed to frost. If necessary, you can increase the insulation for their roots by covering the hessian sacking with straw.
Although the hessian sack should prevent much water from evaporating. Keep an eye on it and make sure your plants are not drying out, lightly watering (but not soaking) the sack if you think they need a drink. Once again, as soon as the ground has thawed, you ought to transfer these plants outside and into their desired place.
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Storing Bare Root Hedging
Bare root hedging plants can present more of a problem if you are unable to plant them as soon as they are delivered. Ideally, they want to go into the ground as quickly as possible. However, provided you keep the roots moist and sheltered, you should be able to delay planting for a little while. Especially if the ground is really frozen. Although the roots want to be moist, so keep the area around them dry to prevent rotting.
Another key point is not to drown your plants, just dampen them regularly. They should last for approximately a week, with the proper care. If you still cannot plant them in the ground after this period of time, you will have to take other action to prevent them from dying.
The best way to do this is to plant them in a well-drained container. Providing plenty of compost around the roots is important. Again, be sure to keep the soil damp so the roots do not dry out. Make sure they are kept in stable, cool conditions. This is not a permanent solution so you ought to try and get them into the ground at the first possible opportunity or they may die.
Planting Hedges Tips
Ideally, hedge plants ought to be planted outdoors in the ground as soon as is possible. If the weather doesn’t allow for this, make sure you take every precaution to keep your plants healthy and thriving before they go into the ground. First of all, keep them away from frost and sudden temperature changes. Secondly, make sure they are regularly watered and cannot be buffeted by strong winds. Third, insulate their roots as much as possible to prevent frost damage. As soon as you are able to, get the plants into the ground. So they can begin putting down their roots and developing their resistance to the cold.