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Old 10-09-2017, 12:32 PM
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I have 3 young rhubarb plants in a large container on my deck. I'm at 7,000 ft. in NM and temps dip below freezing. What is the best way to protect the rhubarb over the winter and early spring months?
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:52 AM
Location: S.W. British Columbia
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Rhubarb is a cool climate plant, it's one of those plants whose roots benefit from being very well chilled in winter but not frozen and the roots need to stay cool and slightly moist throughout the growing season in spring and summer. You don't say what the depth and width dimensions of your container is and that's important since rhubarb needs a very large container to accommodate the extensive roots as the plant grows and matures to its full size. Ideally it should not be in a container, it should be planted directly in the ground so the roots have lots of room to spread out.

If your container is large enough for the soil to provide 18 inches of insulation around and below the roots to prevent deep freezing all you need to do is provide a thick layer of mulch over top of the soil to insulate the top and the crown.

If your container is not big enough then you will have to provide insulating material around the outside of the container. If you get a lot of snow in your location you can also use 18 inches of snow packed around and above the container as insulation too. The snow will keep the roots nicely chilled but prevent them from freezing during sub-zero temperatures. The mulch or other insulating material can be removed in the spring when snow has melted and all danger of deep freeze is over.

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