Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What broadleaf evergreens can I grow in St. Louis?

1.  Site your plants according to their needs: This rule logically applies to all garden plants. But it is particularly relevant to broadleaf evergreens. And in the Saint Louis area this means protecting them from prevailing winter winds and, occasionally, direct summer afternoon sunlight. Planting broadleaf evergreens on the south or east sides of your home, and possibly in the shade of a large tree, will provide them with the wind and sun protection that is vital to their survival and success.

2.  Mulch the area under and surrounding the plant: Good mulch goes a long way toward protecting plant roots from bitterly cold winter temperatures.

3.  Water your plants during the winter months: If the temperature of the air dips to, say, 5 degrees Fahrenheit and your gardens soil is dry the temperature of the soil and the plant roots in it will also dip to 5 degrees F. If your garden soil and plant roots are well watered before a bitter freeze, the soil and plant's roots will freeze at the freezing point of water; 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, watering your plants prior to bitter freezes will “insulate” plant roots and protect them from serious damage. The plants will also be well hydrated and less prone to desication (winter burn).This procedure will not always be possible in Saint Louis during winter months, but anytime you can water broadleaf evergreens before a deep freeze do so thoroughly and deeply.