What happens if the weather freezes before I can plant?

Freezing weather - with or without snow - can delay both delivery and planting.

The key point is this: Roots break easily if they are moved while frozen.

  • Most of a plant's energy is stored in the roots during winter.
  • Broken roots lead to poor growth in spring and the plant will simply die if the damage is bad.
  • The roots don't actually have to snap off: they will die below the point where they were bent while frozen.

Placing Your Order in Freezing Weather:
Please place your order online and choose your preferred delivery date as soon as possible, regardless of the weather at your end.
This will:

  • Reserve the plants you want before they sell out.
  • Get you in the queue for the delivery date you want. Cold weather shortens the planting season and we would hate to turn you away!

We don't take any money from your card until right before delivery, so you only need to e-mail us if you need to cancel your order.

Delayed Delivery:

We do our best to lift plants from the ground and deliver them whenever we have the chance.
Our couriers often face poor road conditions in cold weather, so please be aware that delays do happen.

  • If the ground here is frozen, we cannot lift any plants for delivery. We will contact you if your delivery will be delayed.
  • If your soil is frozen and you want us to delay your delivery, please e-mail us. We will amend the delivery date of your order accordingly. Otherwise, we will deliver as soon as it is safe at our end.
  • If you must have your plants delivered on a certain date, no matter what the weather is, then we regret that we cannot meet your needs. Please let us know by e-mail and we will cancel your order. No money has been taken from from your card. We will send you a Sales Order Cancellation by e-mail.

Delayed Planting:

  • You cannot do any planting when your soil is frozen or when air temperatures are below zero.
  • You should store your plants in a cold place (outside is best) but never in direct sunlight. Open the parcel so the tops of the plants are in the open air. You will find the roots are in a black polythene bag and they should stay inside this while the freeze continues.
  • You should not store your plants indoors although a cold outbuilding is fine.
  • Your plants can be stored for up to 10 days without any attention and indefinitely when the temperature is below zero.
  • You must not move your plants at all during freezing weather after you have stored them.

What happens if I am frozen in all winter?
If your plants are stored outside, frozen and out of the sun, they need no attention at all and will be perfectly happy for months.
The winter planting season ends when spring begins, which usually means in early March.
However, long cold periods delay the onset of spring. If we have a hard winter, it will be safe to plant bareroot trees hedging later.
So there is no reason to panic or hurry!

When can I get planting?
There is a country saying that "when the ground is soft enough to plant, the plants are soft enough to be planted".
When you can dig the ground comfortably, unpack the plants on a day when the temperature is above freezing, wet their roots really well and plant them as normal.

You can watch our How to Plant videos for more help with this bit:

Planting a country style hedge with a mulch mat.
Planting a formal garden hedge.
Planting a large Ornamental tree.
Planting a large fruit tree.

What if my soil freezes again after planting?
Even if the soil freezes again immediately after planting, your plants will be just fine.

  • Leave them alone until the ground has completely thawed out.
  • When it is soft again, firm the soil back around your plants by walking, not stamping around them.
  • Always check your plants after a frost for their first couple of winters and firm the soil again when it has thawed.

We want to make it clear that all this fuss about frost only applies to the time you plant your trees. Almost all of the plants we grow are fully hardy and will do just fine once they are in the ground.
All of our native hedging plants and big trees are directly descended from plants (many still alive) that survived the fierce winters of the late 19th century and the 1940s.

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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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