Well I woke to my first roof frost of the season this morning, and a chilly 2C… Not far from me there are bands of lake effect snow falling! It will certainly not last… as you can see on the graphic, Monday is suppose to reach 13C and Tuesday up to 16C, but today is just a taste of what’s to come in the not too distant future. It’s time to start thinking about getting the ol’ bogs ready for winter!
In the next few weeks, I’m getting some pine needless for my bogs. Like always, come the middle to end of November (or later depeding on weather) I plan to cover my bogs with 10-20cm of pine straw. A side note: My friend around the corner… didn’t cover his outdoor bogs with ANYTHING last winter and his plants faired just fine! It was the COLDEST February on record for these parts! The key however was the snow cover! We had a good snow cover! This winter might not be so cooperative in the snow department.
This winter, we are expecting an strong El Nino. Its supposed to last the winter and into the spring… what does that mean for us? temperature are supposed to be significantly above average… andat the same time significantly less precipitation. This means temperatures could fluctuate above and below freezing a lot. With little snow… this might be an issue… so erring on the side of caution, I’m going to cover my bogs with the needles. The pine needs don’t really “insulate” like snow does, however, it does keep the sun of the surfaceof the bogs and off the plants, stopping the plants from warming! That’s good in mid-late winter if there is no snow and bright sun. Keeping the sun out, keeps the bogs frozen, so if we do get a mild winter, it will buffer the effect of wild temperature fluctuations. But the most important thing the straw does is stop the cold drying winds from “freeze drying” the plants when there is no snow cover!
While on the topic of pine straw, I have people ask me if they should cover their bogs with pine needles or not. It really depends on what your winter conditions are like. If you live somewhere, where you’re guaranteed a snow cover all winter, I wouldn’t worry about it, but if you live in a place where the winter temps fluctuate above and below freezing and snow cover isn’t a guarantee… its a good idea.