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grthumbwannabe 10-21-2010 01:31 PM

boxwood planted in containers
I planted 2 small boxwoods and 2 small cedars in separate containers this summer. I'm not sure if I should now plant them directly into the garden to winter them or if they would survive our winter if they were left in the containers. We are in zone 5B near Lake Ontario. The boxwoods are in containers 1'h x 14"w and the plants stand about 1'high. The cedars are in plastic containers 10 1/2"h x 12"w and plants are 3' tall. I would appreciate any and all help.....thanks!

jasoninct 10-21-2010 08:41 PM

I live in northern Connecticut. I have seen plenty of boxwoods and cedars in containers surviving the winters just fine. You're much farther north and I understant your concern.

I have 2 suggestions.

1 take the planters and cluster them together near a structure (house, shed) on a side of the building that is not exposed to the prevailing wind. Drive stakes around the cluster in a triangle or square shape and wrap burlap around and attach the burlap to the stakes. The burlap should at least be tall enough to go from the base of the planters to about 3/4 of the height of the plant. Pack leaves, pine needles, saw dust, hay or other loose natural material around the containers to insulate or protect the roots.

2 Dig a hole for each container in a cluster. The hole should be large enough to fit the entire container into the ground with 2 to 3 inches all around. Place the container into the hole and pack around it with leaves, pine needles, saw dust, hay, etc. as insulation. Then drive stakes and wrap with burlap like above.

In either case for added protection you can spray the foliage with an antitranspirant. A spray that dries onto the foliage to form a thin biodegradable waxy film that seals the foliage from loosing too much moisture in the cold, dry wind during winter. Basically preventing freezer burn. The film slowly breaks down and by spring has degraded to a point that the spring rains wash it away.

The burlap is to protect this season's new vegetative growth of the plants from the cold and wind. Leaving them exposed will basically cause freezer burn and kill the new growth leaving the plants looking ugly. In an extreme case it can kill the plants.

I don't suggest planting the plants into the soil becasue of the chance of the plants going into shock from exposure to a different soil.

After the plants have been through 2 winters and have been transplanted to a larger container to accomodate the growing roots as they grow the plants will become hardy enough to survive the winter with the planters uncovered with the foliage protected from wind with burlap or an antitranspirant

grthumbwannabe 10-22-2010 12:32 PM

This is so helpful and I appreciate all of your advice...we'll decide which of the 2 options you suggest this weekend and get it done! It is starting to get colder up here.

I am really grateful to know these should continue to grow in larger containers if we protect them for the next 2 years; I would really like to leave them in containers.

Thank you!

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