Monday, October 09, 2017

Preparing Potted Perennials For Winter

For years now I have over-wintered thousands of pots with success. I receive lots of questions about how to do this and a number of people begin by asking about putting pots in their garage. Lots to think about with the questions.

We overwinter daylilies, hostas, peonies, lilacs, hydrangeas, lots of perennials in zone 4 Vermont. For a couple weeks now we have been cutting back all the pots, removing weeds, refilling with soil on top where needed.  Removing spent foliage lessens the likelihood of any insects or diseases carrying over from year to year. The hostas must be handled carefully because of the opportunity to spread virus. Shrubs need to be laid flat. discusses hosta virus quite well.

With our process we begin by taking 2 foot by 2” PVC pipe and adding one-1 ounce package of D Con to each pipe. We lay each pipe flat between the rows of plants. This is to control voles which do not hibernate but sure do know how to eat,  and mice, especially the white footed deer mouse which is involved with the life cycle of ticks and the spread of Lyme and other serious diseases.  

We arrange the pots upright and side-by-side and cover with commercial growers insulating  fabric which we purchase from Griffin Greenhouse Supply. We spread a piece of 6 mil construction poly--black is best--on top of the fabric and then weight it all down with sand bags. We used tires in the past--about 300-- but with the advent of zika virus we went to sand bags purchased from Gemplers Supply. No water to collect and serve as a breeding ground for more mosquitoes.

This process works well and using it we might lose 10 pots per year. The fabric lasts 5-7 years, plastic 3-4, sand bags 5-7 years.

Yes, it is work, but the plants do well.

Ask me questions if I have forgotten anything.

George Africa

Marshfield Vermont