Plants and trees are being ravaged by Oregon's spring snow. Here's how to get them involved

Plants and trees are being ravaged by Oregon's spring snow. Here's how to get them involved ...

When Laura Altvater went to work at the nursery's Southeast Stark Street location Monday morning, she was surprised to see the damage.

In newly placed hanging baskets, a crabapple tree had been removed as a result of a thick layer of ice. Slush was on the ground and snow clung close to flowers.

Summer flowers in winter-like weather? asked the plant buyer with a smile before offering his assurance. These hanging baskets will be safe and sound in a greenhouse until it warms up later this week.

Leaves of weeds and annuals that were out in the cold, but not all the snow was removed.

Even the snow is insulating, so for now it is time to wait and see what damage plants have suffered, said Altvater, who has worked at the Portland Nursery since 1998.

Just as trees wreak havoc on the trees and new plantings wreak havoc.

Gardeners were looking for advice on cultivating seeds that had just begun flowering, nursing recently planted flowers, and protecting blossoms on fruit trees and new growth on roses. Snow and wind have all left some people concerned.

"Broken limbs and lowered trees will have to be removed to avoid future damage," Altvater said. "If a small plant is uprooted, it may return to the ground."

She advises concerned home gardeners to be patient. It usually takes three to five days of warm weather to avoid cold damage.

Weston Miller, an OSU Extension Servicehorticulturist, posted a Facebook page offering advice to help a spring garden hit by snow:

Evergreen trees and shrubs, as well as deciduous plants that have begun to leaf out and flower, will catch more snow than dormant plants. The extra snow can and may lead to broken limbs.

To reduce the weight, remove snow and ice from the branches as necessary. However, leave snow at the root of plants, because it insulates roots.

Experts in the OSU Extension Service recommend that plants use frail structures such as arborvitae, boxwoods, cypress, young rhododendrons, and azaleas.

Tying branches upward before a storm aids in restructureing them to a more upright position.

Snow may wreak havoc on developing leaf and fruit buds. Remove the snow and cover sensitive plants.

Bring cold-sensitive container plants such as citrus and new seedlings inside until it's warmer outside.

Leafy vegetables: Fresh-season vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce will likely last for the duration of the season. Add soluble fertilizer such as fish emulsion after the cold weather lifts.

Tomato plants: When your soil temperature falls below 60 degrees, make sure you have already planted warm-season vegetables like tomatoes. If your soil temperature is below 60 degrees, you should keep an eye on them in the coming weeks to see if they recover. If not, be prepared to replant them when your soil temperature is high, so it may take some time from May to early June.

The Department of Forestry and the National Arbor Day Foundation hope that homeowners dealing with tree damage will not override or pull out trees that would have been saved.

According to the group, a tree can be beat up by a storm, but if it is basically healthy and didn't suffer significant structural damage.

Owners should remove jagged remains and smaller broken limbs where they attach larger ones to assist a tree recover faster.

To hire someone who has broken or hanged, a person or business should be hired.

Owners should look carefully for broken power lines and precarious branches that might cause damage.

If electricity lines are affected by a falling tree or branch, please contact your utility provider.

By calling 503-823-TREE or visiting Portland Parks & Recreation's Urban Forestry employees, please inform them.

According to the City of Portland, property owners are responsible for cleaning up wood debris on sidewalks.

A tree care company may be hired to remove debris that will not fit in a yard waste bin. See rates for putting out extra yard waste at or.

Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072


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