Should I be watering my hostas now?

Ottawa, Canada

All my hostas except one mini have not emerged yet. I'm in zone 5b and danger of frost is not over until May 21 here. I'm worried that my hostas will dry out. What is everyone else doing?

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

It strange how others in our same zone are so far ahead of us. I have some that are still dormant, a few up by about four inches, and most of rest up by about 1/2 to one inch. I have started to water because I do have other things in the garden out of dormancy and it is really, really dry with no rain in sight. I am trying to avoid wetting the hosta that are the most dormant. I have no idea if that is the right thing to do...I don't ever remember a Spring this dry ( and the whole winter was dry as well)

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

I've already watered several beds just because everything is still so dry.

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

I started watering a month ago. Almost all of my hosta are up and most are leafed out. I have had to cover about 200 of them a few times when temps dropped. Especially water the minis. They have the least amount of moisture in them to lose. Bigger hosta have deeper root systems but not the little ones.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I also wanted to add that our last day of "frost danger" is about the same as yours, irawon....but the hosta always come up and unfurl before that, as I expect they will all do this year. I guess I am watering because it has been so dry that I'm trying to compensate a little- April is usually a rainy month here.

Wyoming, MN

I am in zone 4 and most of my Hostas are visible now.Only a few have started to unfurl though. We had three nights of freeze early in the week. Temps got dow to 24-28 on those nights. I did not cover anything and avery thing seems to be great. Some of my daylilies I thought seemed to look odd, but a day of warmth later and they look normal again.

It has been very dry here too. It started raining at 12 am last night and has been raining steadily. It is still raining, softly, now at 4 am. Ephemerals are blooming nicely ie. dutchmans breeches, hepatica, bloodroot, my double bloodroot is blooming beautifully this year. Bulbs are continuing to bloom. All is right in the gardens.

Gary

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I too am zone4... I see a lil bit of damage on a few hostas, including my new Empress Wu ... some are unfurling, most are pips... and 1 or 2 show no signs of life yet. We got a good soaking last night, with more rain on the way today.

Last fall, Dh backed his boat over some of my new hostas, so i'm assuming they did not get much water at all over the winter/spring ... all but one have come back. ... though a tag could have been placed wrong.... time will tell.

But i'd say 99% of my hostas are showing life of some sort.

I think our last frost date is the end of May...

Ottawa, Canada

Was out in the garden yesterday doing spring clean up for the first time. My hosta beds are full of spruce cones. Not good for the back. I'm filling in holes beside some hostas. I suspect racoons. Coconut Custard is up about an inch and others are just beginning to poke through. Frank, I'm watering the minis for sure now. It appears that some I planted late in the season last year did not get a firm hold in the soil. Hope I don't lose them. I'm hauling buckets of water as hubby says its too early to open the sprinkler system. Sure sign I'm a full-fledged hostaholic.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's hostas when unfurled.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I was out today and things are really starting to spring up with the warmth. "Remember Me" looks to be the first one that wants to unfurl. I have to go out tonight and scan for slugs! I guess that is one good thing about lack of rain, but they are still out there lurking.

Even though we have a late last frost date and are advised not to plant annuals until Memorial Day, in the six years I've been gardening, I don't remember a frost coming anywhere near that late. See, now I just cursed myself!

Wyoming, MN

2.25" of rain last night. Everything looks real perky now!

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I can recall 1 time in the 11 yrs i've been in my house that we had a hard frost in may... a friend of my DH's planted 75 tomato plants in early may... we generally do not plant until Mother's day... he lost every one of them.

we are expecting 29 tomorrow night.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

A couple years ago plants woke up way ahead of schedule. So everything was fully leafed out early when a frost was forecast in May. I covered everything, which was a huge undertaking. I woke up early and did not see frost anywhere in my garden, but I remember seeing really mushy hosta at the local nurseries.

Oquawka, IL(Zone 5a)

Covered and uncovered 3 different times because of threats of frost. Weds. night I had to attend calling hours for a family member, and couldn't cover them... Freezing temps caused quite a bit of damage, so now I don't care! Takes a lot of pressure off and my back won't hurt quite as much! We also had rain today, so I'm happy for a while!

Rose

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

My condolences, Rose.

I was just looking at pics from last year and it looks like we are 2+ weeks ahead of schedule this year, so I image I will have some stressful nights ahead.

Wyoming, MN

I am not going to worry about the plants outside. Even the natives have been fooled, so they will have to decide what they want to do. We had three sub frost nights early this week and nothing seems affected. We may have rain turning to snow on Tuesday.

Gary

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

there is only 1 that i will cover tonight. all the rest are on their own... but i honestly dont think it will get that cold... not upper 20's.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

If they are drying out, water them some, But especially if they have white margins, don't over water as it may encourage drawstring effect. The green part of the leaf will grow faster than the margin, especially early in the spring and especially if there is lots of water.

Ann

Ottawa, Canada

Thanks for the advice ViolaAnn. I'm relieved it's raining this morning. However, since my hostas compete with tree roots, I suppose I still have to provide them with extra water. I was hoping to finish uncovering the rest of my hosta beds today. Hope the rain penetrates the blanket of dead leaves that I haven't gotten around to yet. I've been toying with the idea of buying a leaf shredder but DH is resisting the idea. Do any of you Dave's Gardeners add shredded leaves to your hosta gardens as compost? Any advice in this regard would be appreciated.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

My leaves go into the compost pile and sometimes get added back in once composted. The ones I have to remove in the spring are from my oak tree and the tree next door which generally drop too late to collect in the fall.

Philadelphia (Media), PA(Zone 7a)

irawon, I mulch most of my hosta beds with shredded leaves and the hostas are happy, happy, happy -- keep working on DH! Shredded leaves are obviously cheaper than commercially prepared mulch, great for the soil and keep the weeds down just as well as 'regular' mulch. We have over 70 trees on our little acre+, so getting rid of leaves used to be a huge (not to mention time-consuming) problem but not since we purchased a contraption that hooks to the back of the riding mower and sucks up and shreds the leaves. The money we saved NOT having to buy mulch each Spring has more than paid for the "suck-em-up" (as we like to call it) - and it's recycling at it's best. My DH picks up the leaves in the fall and I get about half of them back into the beds before winter (during a good year LOL)... and I'm currently working on spreading the other half before the hostas and their friends get too big.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I have spent most of the Spring raking up last year's oak leaves!!!! Oh, how I wish I had a means of shredding them. I believe our lawn mower has a mulch/ shred feature, but I would have to get my husband to participate in that, since mowing the yard is his one job out there. My garden isnt big enough to support a compost pile, unfortunately, but I sure wouldn't mind using the shredded leaves as mulch. They take a long time to break down when not shredded

Ottawa, Canada

Diturk, your words are exactly what I needed to hear. Do you use some of the shredded leaves on the lawn as well instead of top dressing it?

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Noreaster - really, truly - can't you find a corner for a compost pile? I've got two in a lot that is roughly 60 x 120 ft.

Philadelphia (Media), PA(Zone 7a)

Quote from irawon :
Diturk, your words are exactly what I needed to hear. Do you use some of the shredded leaves on the lawn as well instead of top dressing it?


No... but our neighbors do; however, they only have a few trees on their property so a lot less leaves than we have. Fine Gardening ran an article about it on their website a while ago: http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/improve-soil-rake-less.aspx

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Ann, not really...gotta leave the dogs some areas to do their business, and they like the corners. We sort of have a pile on the other side of the fence, in the front yard. Its where we throw branches and other yard debris until my husband gets around to taking them to the dump. But it's not something I can go out and turn or anything. One day when I get organized we should clear out that area out front and set up a proper compost pile.

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