Rhododendron buds already coming out. (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance)

ON GARDENING IN LANGLEY: Ice storm caused damage to many trees

Advance columnist Pam Erikson suggestions tips for minimize winter damage and prepping for spring.

It’s been a wild west winter, thus far.

Happy New Year to all our gardeners out there, and it is our sincere hope that your trees and shrubs made it through the incredible ice storm of 2017.

We have had many calls lately with concerns about what has happened these past couple of weeks.

First, all the perennials are just fine – they are happily frozen beneath the ground so they really don’t care what is happening above the surface.

As for the trees and shrubs, that is a different matter.

When we get heavy snow, we always advise people, wherever possible, to try and knock some of the snow off the branches to alleviate the pressure on the limbs.

This is only possible when we get the light fluffy snow that we are used to.

Knocking that snow off cedars, boxwoods etc relieves the stress on the trees/shrubs and they are less likely to snap.

That ice storm, however, was a different matter.

Once the ice forms on the branches, you are advised NOT to touch them.

Where the ice is too thick and too heavy for the branches to support it, they will snap – as we have seen so much on the news this year.

This is an excellent time to remind everyone that regular pruning of all the trees and shrubs in your garden will definitely help prevent as much damage as others have seen.

We had an 80-foot Crimson King maple in our garden that has concerned me for a few years.

This fall, [my husband and a professional landscaper] Tom brought it down by 50 per cent – and thank goodness he did. It came through the ice storm with no damage whatsoever.

This was not the case for some of our clients who saw many maples split down the centre due to the weight of the ice.

Regular fall/winter pruning and thinning of deciduous trees cannot be stressed enough, and has never been more evident than this year.

That being said, once we get into January, my mind is already on spring.

Once the snow has cleared (and I hope it is for good), I shall be out looking for signs of life.

Our Arum italicum is in full leaf and was happily poking above the snow – even in the one gallon pots that have sat out in the elements, as are the hellebores that will start to bloom soon.

Buds on the rhododendrons are already swelling and the ornamental kale is still looking healthy.

Before we know it, the snowdrops and other spring bulbs will start to appear and I’m sure that the nasty ice storm memories will soon be behind us.

My tip for January/February is to keep an eye on the temperatures.

If it starts to warm up, the slugs will start to hatch and feed on any new tender growth they can find.

For us, the daylilies are always the first perennials to come up, so we make sure we start our cleanup of the beds sooner rather than later – if the leaves and debris cover the garden for too long, the slugs will hide underneath and enjoy munching on fresh foliage without our even noticing them.

Getting a jump start on the slugs at the beginning of their season is always first in my mind at this time of year.

– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials in Langley

and president of the Langley Garden Club

 

Arum not really caring about winter. (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance)

Thread cypress encased in ice. (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance)

Just Posted

WATCH: Langley art beneath the vines helps hospice

West Coast Fine Arts late summer show enjoyed natural light in a winery’s greenhouse.

Langley health fair aimed at newcomers to the community

An LCSS event combined fun for kids with information on health services.

Election signs trashed on Langley’s 208th Street

Someone apparently knocked down a block of signs in Willoughby.

VIDEO: Cedar Rim Nursery celebrates 40th anniversary

The celebration created a buzz at the nursery with local vendors, tours and a kids zone

Car crash, wires down cause power failures in Langley

Hundreds of people spent some time in the dark Friday and Saturday.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read