We’ve had a couple of frosts, signs that gardening activity is winding down. But it’s not quite time to put away the garden tools and gas up the snow blower. Here are some recommendations for fall clean up to help you to prepare for the holidays and get a healthy start next spring.
Good Time for Planting
There’s still time to plant trees and shrubs. Whether you purchase new trees or shrubs or want to move existing smaller trees and shrubs, with the proper care you can be successful. It’s not recommended to transplant conifers (pines, spruce, etc.) at this time, but deciduous trees and shrubs can be transplanted successfully if you dig a generous root ball. Water well at installation and monitor moisture until the ground freezes.
You can continue planting bulbs until the ground freezes. Water bulbs well at time of planting.
Protecting Pots and Plants
We’ve mentioned it before but thought it worth repeating. It’s time to apply Wilt-Pruf® to protect broadleaved evergreens such as azaleas, boxwoods, rhododendrons and hollies. You can also apply it to Christmas trees and wreaths to protect and extend their life by reducing moisture loss.
Protect vulnerable plants from rabbits and other gnawing varmints by placing a cylinder of chicken wire, graduated wire fencing or netting around the trunk. Make sure protective fences are high enough to deter rodents standing on accumulated snow. Some plants that need winter protection from rabbits include: roses and recently planted trees and shrubs.
It’s still too early to mulch roses. Wait to place protective mulch around roses until the ground has frozen solid. Consider using a wire ring of fencing to hold mulch around plants and protect against critters.
Ceramic pots and garden décor should be stored in your basement or garage if they are not too heavy to move. If they are too heavy, you can provide protection outdoors by raising pots and statuary off the soil onto pavers or bricks and cover with a waterproof plastic tarp. Bird baths, not equipped with an electric heater, should be covered or the bowl flipped over so water does not freeze in the basin.
Blue Birds, Pruning and Holiday Containers
If you adopted one or two of our ceramic Blue Birds this year, be sure to bring them indoors now for the winter. They are not fond of our cold, snowy winters. You should also bring in any other porous ceramic garden accents like our glazed mushrooms or even terra cotta pots. Watch our Facebook page this winter–you might find our Blue Birds have flown to warmer climates for the winter.
Now that the leaves have fallen and exposed the branch architecture of trees and shrubs consider removing dead, diseased and crossing branches. Important note: Don’t prune early spring flowering trees and shrubs at this time unless you’re willing to give up some flowers. As a general rule, prune trees and shrubs just after flowering, but before setting new buds.
Remember last winter? All the soil froze in our containers before we had a chance to add fresh greens for the holidays. This year, we suggest removing the soil now before it freezes solid. You can keep the soil in your garage or basement until you’re ready to create your holiday arrangements. Once created, give them a good drink and they will freeze with the fresh greens in place. Or we’re happy to do it for you–your empty containers are a great place for The Growing Place’s designer-created holiday arrangements that easily drop in to your favorite containers.
After the last cut of the season, run your lawn mower out of gas—in spring you’ll be glad you did.
Get out and garden. Enjoy the unique beauty fall weather brings to your yard and garden.
Posted on 10/29/2014 at 8:30:00 PM