Do U wait til the threat of frost is over before planting shrubs?

ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)January 8, 2013

I'm ordering a large number of shrubs this spring and have decided to wait til early May to plant.

I was wondering if any of you also wait til your frost threat is over, to plant.

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If the shrubs are still dormant, a frost will do no harm. A more important factor, imho, is soil temperature. Putting even fully dormant plants into cold, wet soil can lead to serious, even fatal, damage to the roots.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:42AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what he said.. but more ...

depends where they are sent from .. and whether they are still FULLY dormant ...

whaas held over tons of conifers last winter.. i am sure he can add much to the conversation.. maybe even some pics ...

if you can take delivery.. in FULL DORMANCY ... and hold them in full dormancy ... see the key words there ... then the trees can be planted at ground thaw .. PRESUMING you have well draining soil ... and in this case.. trees/conifers/shrubs are all the same ...

and this might mean.. taking delivery from a southern provider ... in FEB or march!!! .... or better yet .... delaying delivery of such until fall planting time... just because you want it.. and found it.. doesnt mean you can have it ... or plant it

the problem in my z5 ... is trees should be planted.. as i told you elsewhere.. 6 to 8 weeks before the heat of summer ... my problem is the the heat of summer can be 2 weeks after last frost potential around 6/1 ... and on a fully leafed out.. growing tree.. transplanting and a few weeks later the temps hitting 80.. is not good

and like the other post.. potting up.. and holding until fall might be best ...

in this case.. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!!!!


ps: i thought there was more.. but i got distracted ... and lost my train of thought.. will mull it over.. and add more.. when the coffee wears off after grocery shopping.. i am positive.. i will have a bazillion more thoughts.. while driving.. and not a coherent thought.. when i get back to the computer ...

pps: part of this involves the seller sending them to you at what THEY CALL .. planting time ... do NOT defer to them .. my odds of success went up significantly when i realized this ... they shoot for a catchall planting time.. which may or may not.. be best.. you have to ask them when their stock comes out of dormancy.. and insist on delivery a few weeks prior.. to INSURE FULL DORMANCY .... and most sellers will appreciate your knowledge .. and extend the warranty ... [as compared to calling in august and demanding immediate delivery.. they might say sure.. no warranty] ...

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:33AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

dont forget ... most shrubs.. except for the foo-est of the foo.. are nearly bulletproof ...

you will have to try hard to kill most of them ..


    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:35AM
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If the shrubs are fully winter hardy for your zone, 'last frost dates' have little, if any, impact on their health or growth. The risk of planting before the last frost date is typically restricted to plants that are most temperature annuals. Trees, shrubs and perennials that are fully winter hardy in your zone can be planted whenever your soil is workable, last frost date or not.

You should be aware that some early flowering plants can be damaged by late frosts that coincide with flowering times (like some magnolias) or by excessive cold that damages latent buds (like bigleaf hydrangeas). A late 'freeze' is rather different and any plant can be vulnerable, regardless of how long established in the garden.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 3:23PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Can't argue with any points already made. All good info from these fine regulars.

I just had Gossler send my order this week.

Two reasons:
1) The route on the way over is going to be no less than 20 degrees. I confirmed with them on the phone to do this and ensured the plants where fully dormant.

2) This particular source is known for not keeping up with inventory and their listings. In fact they didn't have two of the plants I wanted. I thought I was an early early bird!

I don't have the patience to wait for the last frost so I try to get all my plants dormant and plant when the soil thaws AND is workable. Last year I got lucky. All those plants that I overwintered in my garage where planted mid-March into practically dry soil. It was just damp enough for me to work with it. It was my best planting year ever. Until the warm temps sustained and the damn things broke dormancy by early April. Then freezes hit left and right in April. Tons of damage but I didn't lose too many plants. Then the heat and drought could it get any worse! Quite the anomaly if you ask me.

I always get annoyed when nurseries bring stock in April from the west coast as it has broke dormancy already. In that case I buy and don't plant until early May, unless the temp. trends are showing me otherwise.

Timing is everything and every year is different. I remember two years prior it was so wet in spring I couldn't get out there to plant as the soil was too wet. I had to wait until mid May anyhow.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:15PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so like your other post.. wherein i talked about your window of opportunity..

whaas likes march.. but has worked as late as mid may.. IN HIS ZONE 5....

to say you cant do it.. in the given window of opportunity.. is ... well.. making excuses ... just psyche yourself up and 'get er done' ...


    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 7:54AM
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samnsarah in South-central Kansas the lowest temp so far has been 19 degrees at night. I have dug into open soil on a cold morning and the top 1/2 inch is frozen and everything under it is completely workable. And on the south side of my house the ground from the foundation to about 4' out literally never freezes. So could I plant shrubs and perennials in that south hot-spot year round if I wanted to?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:17PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Plantingman, Gardengal provided the answer I like most in this thread. I would only tweak her answer slightly.

As she said, most fully-hardy woody plants and perennials can be planted now without regards to temperatures, as long as the soil is workable. The exceptions include annuals, marginally hardy plants, and a few others (mostly, certain plants with fleshy, easily-rotted roots like pawpaws and some magnolias). In areas where the ground does freeze at root level, transplanting evergreens should probably be avoided now.

So, in your case (zone 6b, ground not frozen below 1/2") planting hardy plants now should work just great. I would not say year-round though; planting in hot summer weather can be very hard on many plants, and especially if not watered very well. See section 1 of the guide, linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a Tree or Shrub

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:58PM
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