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Date Posted: 10:33:17 09/08/06 Fri
Author: Jon - NJ 6b/7a
Subject: Re: To: Tony O (Z6) NE Ok... Cover or Not.
In reply to: Tony O (NE Ok) 's message, "Re: To: Tony O (Z6) NE Ok... Cover or Not." on 07:29:11 07/28/06 Fri

I have a large (about 5-6 foot) rostrata that has endured 2 winters so far in fine form, one very cold (-3 F) and snowy and (last winter) mild (around zone 8 minima) and mostly dry but with a freak Feb. blizzard that dumped a record-for-a-single-storm 2+ feet. But it went to 60 a couple days thereafter and all was gone inside a week or so.

Anyway, what I've done is to cover the crown with a large kettle/smoker grill cover for snow events. I got this idea from Hank Mednikoff who used to grow these in Princeton. I put the cover on when snow is predicted and remove it immediately afterwards, so the crown doesn't get frozen precip in it.

I do leave it exposed during rain events, even if it's forecast to get cold after, and have had no problems. However, I periodically pour a quart or so of concentrated copper fungicide solution right into the crown throughout winter, esp. after rain. That way, if freezing occurs, the copper is right there to prevent any damaged tissue from being attacked by pathogens. So far this has worked well.
I also treat with copper right off the bat when it starts to get cold in winter, just to be prepared.

Using these techniques, the plant can stay exposed almost all the time, except during snow. It really looks funny seeing it all lush and green (or blue, actually) in a white landscape, when I take the cover off afterwards!

I now have another, smaller rostrata and will treat it the same.

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