Daylilies forum: Winter damage-Heaving!

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Mar 9, 2015 6:50 AM CST
I had a handful of daylilies-newly planted last fall, that have heaved up out of the ground and I do mean completely out. I can't believe how much they have moved. I will have to replant them entirely. My soil is somewhat heavy, not clay really, but just not well draining either. Some of these had straw over them at the beginning of winter but was afraid to mulch over them too much for fear of crown rot if it stayed too moist. I think some of the straw must have blown off also. I have never had so much trouble with heaving (well I have with iris, but that is a little different than dl). So I'm wondering what I need to do differently next winter to keep this from happening again. Did the heaving most likely occur due to not having enough mulch over them? Or do you think I need to add compost to the soil? We have long wet winters that swing from 60 one day to a foot of snow the next. We have had 0F at night and then a few days later 50F. Just crazy, but most winters are like that. So what should I do to fix this?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 9, 2015 7:30 AM CST
My primary suggestion would be not to plant daylilies in fall in your area. I don't think adding compost would help, unless the soil needs improving anyway (but don't amend just the planting holes, do the whole bed).

One question, though, when you planted them did they have a lot of root, and did you plant them on top of a mound of soil made in the middle of the planting hole, with the roots spread outwards over it, as described in the AHS FAQ?:

http://www.daylilies.org/AHSFAQsNew.html#plant2

Having some of the roots sideways, as established daylilies grow, may help reduce heaving. I would assume root-pruned new transplants would be more likely to heave as well.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 9, 2015 7:34 AM CST
They were just small plants with not much root anyhow. I will not be planting anymore in the fall, I don't think that is a good idea. I learned with iris to plant them in the early summer immediately after flowering. Most vendors sell iris in the fall and I hate that. It's too late to plant and they can't establish and heave and lay on the wet winter ground and either dry up or rot. My last yard had lots of looser compost soil and my dl did not heave. So I am inclined to think the heavy soil contributed.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 9, 2015 8:00 AM CST
Heaving depends on the type of soil and its moisture content. You know your soil, so if you think that adding compost would improve drainage then it may well help but that should be for the whole bed and not just the planting hole because amending only the planting hole could theoretically make things worse if the amended soil is more water retentive and/or the heavier soil surrounding the hole prevents water from draining away. There should be less heaving in a drier soil.

I did actually break my rule and plant a few daylilies last fall. Kind of dreading what I will find when the snow melts!
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
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JWWC
Mar 9, 2015 8:03 AM CST
I'd venture that your weather is more likely the main culprit than the soil itself. Much like potholes tend to bloom when there are multiple freeze thaw cycles.

How late in the fall did you plant? I'd suggest giving them 8 weeks or so before you would expect a hard freeze so that they can re-establish roots.
[Last edited by JWWC - Mar 9, 2015 8:04 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 9, 2015 8:18 AM CST
James, yes you're right it does have to do with freezing and thawing (as well as soil characteristics and moisture content). I should have mentioned that but assumed from the post that Frillylily was already aware. Thank you for clarifying.
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Seed Starter Annuals Region: Indiana
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JWWC
Mar 9, 2015 8:22 AM CST
sooby said:James, yes you're right it does have to do with freezing and thawing (as well as soil characteristics and moisture content). I should have mentioned that but assumed from the post that Frillylily was already aware. Thank you for clarifying.


Oh I agree - I just wanted to point out that moist soil that freezes won't necessarily heave.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Mar 9, 2015 8:51 AM CST
Sue, Frillylily is aware from past post. I always plant in the fall. I use mulch to stabilize the soil temp. My soil is always prepared before planting. If the plants are water logged that can definitely cause a problem with rot. If that's the case, then a raised bed is the only solution for that area.
robinseeds.com
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Mar 9, 2015 9:42 AM CST
I planted them in Oct, but we did not get the real crazy weather til just after Christmas. Yeah, the snow melted! and we had a nice day so I went out for a looksie.
I think I will just stick to spring planting and that should help alot. I'm going to add some organic matter and see if that helps it drain better too.

Thanks guys for all your input!
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Mar 12, 2015 6:39 AM CST
When fall planting put some bricks or rocks around newly planted daylilies to prevent heaving over the winter.
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Mar 12, 2015 7:42 AM CST
I agree
Lighthouse Gardens
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 13, 2015 11:36 AM CST
great idea, I will try that!

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