Protecting the lilacs for the winter is no mean feat! The buying season is over by the end of October. At that point, we start grouping the lilacs that are in pots by size into blocks that are 20 feet wide. The smaller guys that are still in their rooting trays get lined up to go under low hoops made of concrete reinforcing mesh. Then the potted plants all get tipped over on their sides and covered with opaque white plastic film for the winter. I'm up on a hill that is open to the west, and the wind comes through here like a banshee at times. If we leave the lilacs upright and don't get much snow, they can really dry out and then are not in good shape come spring. This is why we can't ship over the winter; they're covered and frozen. This also is why we don't take pre-orders now. We need to get them uncovered and uprighted in the spring first. Then we can take inventory and see what looks good. We've been doing this for 3 years now and it has worked pretty well. It took us about a week to get everything lined up and place the hoops. Then it took another week to get them tipped over so we could cover them. For the larger plants, we just push them together and wrap netting around the group and throw leaves in for insulation along with some mouse bait. This work is not too much fun, especially if the weather doesn't cooperate, as we can only do it on the weekends when I'm not at work! But it's worth it for that day in March when it's finally warm enough to uncover them and see how they look. Thanks to my mentor Evie King of Syringa Plus for teaching me how to do this and all her advice and wisdom.
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