I ended my winter 2010 evaluation of Lycoris hardiness with the following statement, “This product will probably be applied again next year in the hopes of evaluating under more normal circumstances and with a properly timed second application.” The “product” referred to was FreezePruf™, an organic solution sprayed on winter plants, touted to improve plant cold hardiness by as much as 9°F.

The winter ending 2011 was in no way a normal winter, instead offering up winter lows that matched the record for our area. I also did not follow my own advice, but modified it. I still sprayed the first application of the solution at the appropriate time, but, shortly after, I covered my Lycoris in Reemay, which is only supposed to protect plants by another 2°F or so. My logic was to provide better protection than I had the year before, especially by offering a frost barrier, where I had only sprayed once, and avoid having to spray again in January/February. Little did I expect the temperatures we would see.

Thankfully, with those temperatures also came snow, which acts as a good insulator. This protected the bulbs, themselves, from actually getting as cold as outside air temperatures, but I was not sure what would happen to the foliage separated from the snow only by a thin layer of Reemay.

For the most part, things went really well. Lycoris xalbiflora performance was disappointing, though, as the foliage did not survive well, even though it performed sufficiently well the year before down to 0°F. Lycoris aurea, treated differently, still sprayed once, but using heated plastic tunnels instead of Reemay, just could not handle the cold, and performed the same as the previous year. This time the heat lamps did not fail, but could not compete with -15°F. Under the Reemay, L. ‘Cherry Blossom Pink’ and L. straminea did not perform well, either. Otherwise, Lycoris foliage performance was as good or better than the previous year, that year’s results of which can be reviewed in detail in the article, “A Practical Evaluation of FreezePruf™“.

My hopes are that this winter will behave more “normally", but whether or not it does, due to the extreme nature of the past two winters, I am convinced FreezePruf™ must become a standard part of my winter Lycoris maintenance program. Thanks to all those who have worked to develop such a product, as it has really served me well in this unique situation.

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