Our new Rhododendron garden is in a pretty windy patch of the garden and is it possible to have someone help us with the staking and covering them for the winter? we live in Mississauga .
Unfortunately, it is not within the mandate of Master Gardeners to provide physical help with gardening issues. We can, however, provide you with advice on how to go about winterizing your young rhododendron plants. You do need to get started on this as soon as possible, before the ground freezes.
The first thing you have to do is ensure your plants are well watered. We have had a fair amount of rain in recent days so that’s a big help. Rhododendrons have quite shallow roots so it would be a good idea to keep a 4ins layer of mulch around the base of each plant. This will stop them from completely drying out over the winter. Then you need to think about how you are going to protect your plants from the cold and drying winds.
You can create a windbreak if the plants are not too large. To do this you need to hammer 4 stakes into the ground around each plant. The height depends on the height of your plants. Take a roll of burlap and cut off an appropriate length to go around the stakes. Staple the burlap to each stake, in several places or tie around the four stakes with twine to hold everything in place. [This might require two people]. Another method is to take the burlap and wrap around your plants – no need for stakes. You will need twine to tie around the burlap to stop it from flying away. All being well your rhododendrons should survive.
With regard to getting help with the physical side of this project perhaps family members, friends, or neighbours can help. Otherwise it most likely means you need to employ the services of a landscape gardener or odd job person.
The following link will take you to a good article put out by Landscape Ontario on protecting plants for winter.