The Charlotte/Mecklenburg area will be experiencing unusually cold weather over the next couple of weeks. If you are researching the cold limits of your ornamental plant species, notice that cold hardiness may be indicated by USDA zone.
Charlotte/Mecklenburg is in USDA zone 7b on the “cool side” of USDA zone 8a, so if your research indicates your plant tolerates temperatures only to zone 9 or 10, then you must bring these indoors or use other cold protection methods. If indicated as hardy to zone 8 then minimal protection will help prevent damage. We will try to share some tips via our Facebook page plus you may visit other links we recommend like:
If you don’t subscribe to our alerts (you may sign-up for our email newsletter at the bottom of the page), then you may want to read the following additional guidelines that the botanical gardens staff has compiled:
As with all gardening endeavors there is no one answer – considering the variety of plants we grow (and the variety of gardeners!) However, here are a few guidelines to help you make your own plans for the next few nights. While these measures do not change the cold temperatures, the protection from windchill can be significant.
Containers – Bring them into the garage or other protected area. Temperatures below 15 degrees can be damaging to plant roots and crowns in containers as they freeze much more quickly than plants in the ground.
Small, newly planted shrubs & zone 7/8 perennials – Be sure roots (& crowns of perennials) are well-mulched (3-4″). Cover newly-planted (this fall) small shrubs with frost cloth, old blankets, burlap, or large nursery pots. Do not use clear plastic, as it will heat up too much in the sun.
Broadleaf evergreen shrubs – Cold winds can be quite damaging to broad evergreen foliage. Consider covering small camellias, daphne, young rhododendron or evergreen azaleas.
Watch out for frost heaving – The freezing and thawing of wet soil (our situation right now) can actually “unplant” newly planted annuals, perennials, and even small woodies. After the cold spell is over, be sure to check through your garden areas and “re-plant” anything that was pushed up by the frost heaving.
Don’t forget to drain - all hoses, rainbarrels, small fountains, quick connectors, y-valves.
What about the birds? Give them liquid water each day and check your feeders.