Heaving lessons for those in mild climates

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Tue, 18 Mar 2008 09:25:02 PDT
Dear All,
	This has been one of the worst winters in many for heaving. 
As I wandered the garden looking at labels askew and  scattered, and 
plants protruding, I realized that gardeners in milder climates may 
not understand the 'Joys of Heaving'. It made me wonder.

Some lessons:

	What is heaving?	During winter the soil alternately 
freezes and thaws. The soil loosens and tightens its 'grip' around 
plants, labels, stakes, anything stuck into the ground. This 
freeze/thaw alternation tends to push 'stuff ' up and out of the 
soil. It literally 'heaves'.

	What heaves?	Anything can heave, but thin plastic labels 
are the most common. I have dozens of such labels especially newly 
stuck labels and some up to 8 inches long lying horizontal across the 
soil close to their original mark. Late planted perennials that have 
not had a chance to secure themselves with deep roots can also heave. 
Even wooden stakes and small fence posts or plant stakes can heave 
completely out of the ground.

	What are the cures?		Labels can be pushed as far 
down in the soil as possible and may be re-pushed deeper into the 
ground in mid winter, but often the soil is too frozen to push a 
loose label back in. For some plants like bearded iris, I put a brick 
on the rhizome to hold it down ( there are dozens of bricks around 
the garden), but for many herbaceous plants it is hard to keep them 
in the ground. You have to push them down when the soil warms up 
enough to accept a well placed push.

	What are the dangers?	The worst is when a plant heaves 
almost totally out the ground and is then subject to a series of hard 
freezes and thaws or sudden winter warm ups totally exposed. This can 
kill slightly tender, especially newly planted plants and bulbs. 
Labels can be heaved out, then blown around by winter breezes making 
return to their original spot suspect.

	Are there any pluses to heaving? 	Well not many. I 
suppose once labels are completely out of the ground this allows you 
an 'opportunity' to check if they are legible, correct spelling, add 
any planting notes or replace them with a longer deeper label.

	This has been a very wet winter and a long cold one, too. I 
suspect this has been the cause so much heaving this winter.

	Is there something comparable in mild climates?  Do mild 
climates have heaving too?

		Why me ?			Best		Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

More information about the pbs mailing list