Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zone what ?

Photos show burned stand of "Hardy Bamboo",
Weeping giant Sequoia
and Photina fraseri hedge.
So the debate goes on about what USDA cold hardiness zone Boise is really in. Anyone who has been here since the seventies knows what winter can bring to the area. Zone 5 regions can experience periods of close to twenty below zero degrees F. It has actually been, since 1991, I think it was, when we had any serious arctic cold to contend with. That makes eighteen or so years of zone 7 temperatures, never dropping below zero degrees F in Boise proper.

Well this winter, we had a week in December (2009), where the night-time low hit 5-10 below each night. I suspected that we would see some damage to the numerous plant varieties that have been planted here over the last two decades, as if we had suddenly joined Seattle as a coastal community.

Deodar Cedars, Bamboos, Photinias, Sequoias and other evergreen trees and shrubs have been planted with great gusto around Meridian, Eagle and south Boise and for the most part have thrived for a good long while.

I have been seeing some cold burn showing up around town lately and went out to take a few pictures of examples. Being a nursery saleman, I just know I will be talking to lots of people about their exotic landscape plants that are suddenly all rusty brown. "Is it dead?"many will ask. "Will you replace it if it does not recover ? We bought it from you ten years ago."? Yeah, right. Well those along Eagle road, on the island, are so beautiful. we just had to have some like those.

Most of what I am seeing will recover with time and spring growth. I think there is more damage that has yet to show itself on things like roses and grapes. It was just a little reminder that we are still in Idaho and hardiness zones don't change themselves over such short periods of time.

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