winterizing for extreme low temps

Asked December 30, 2016, 3:41 PM EST

Hi! We have an edible landscape -- fruit and nut trees, berries, figs, roses, kiwi, asparagus, olive, grapes, herbs, etc. Which type of plants should we be concerned about protecting (more than usual) before next week's projected low temps?

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Thanks for your timely frigid weather question. Your edible landscape sounds wonderful. Generally for all your plants in the cold weather ahead, water-leaching winds and heavy branch icing are more damaging than snow cover. Typically mature NW plant varieties will endure, but additional mulching and protective insulation will certainly be beneficial. If time permits, asses tree structures for overgrown branching that may be vulnerable to breakage from heavy ice; prune out where possible as well as removing dead branches. Any tender patio or potted plants should be wrapped or moved into a shed with light-giving windows. As an olive tree is not native and if it is not mature, it would benefit from wind protection such as a wire cage wrapped with burlap. Grapes and berries typically endure as do old or heirloom roses. Hybrid tea roses could benefit from some pruning and wrapping, although during last 20 years, I have never lost any roses due to a winter storm. Hardy figs and kiwis appreciate additional mulching and dead branch removal. Annual herbs such as basil are already gone, but hardy perennials will endure with some mulching and those tender perennial herbs should be moved to the shed with the other patio/potted plants. Fortunately our Pacific NW Maritime winter extremes are usually of short duration and a well-tended landscape with proper drainage keeps your plants strong in adverse weather.