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Each year we are asked
for a reminder of what to do to prepare for winter. With temperatures
heading steadily downward, the question seems particularly timely. In
short, do it now, while you can still work in relative comfort outdoors!
Hereís a summary
checklist of things you may want to do, if you have not already done them.
- Be sure that
tender plants that have spent the spring and summer outdoors find an
indoor location that meets their needs. We have already experienced hard
freezes over most of the area, so you have no time to waste. A proper
indoor location includes providing the right lighting conditions,
humidity, watering and protection from drafts. Each species has its own
special requirements, and success depends on providing for them
correctly. If you are in doubt, contact your county Extension or
Outreach office for information. It may mean success or failure for your
plants, or at least having them flourish rather than just barely
surviving the winter.
perennials remaining outdoors, put a protective layer of leaves or other
mulch around them to moderate soil temperature and reduce the chances of
heaving due to soil temperature fluctuations.
- Tie Clematis and
other perennial vines to supports to avoid wind damage. Remember that
vines are heavy feeders and require a regular supply of moisture to
prosper. They also benefit from a good mulching particularly after fall
pruning and feeding.
- Evergreensí need
for moisture continues through the winter months. If there is not a
consistent snow cover, they will need watering whenever it is warm
enough to permit use of a garden hose. Broadleaf evergreens, like
Azaleas and Rhododendrons suffer damage if they are allowed to transpire
excessively. They should be misted or sprayed with a product that
controls their transpiration rate.
up the garden after deadheading and pruning is very important in
reducing the spread of a number of fungal diseases. All leaves and
branches, especially those that have been attacked by fungus, should be
collected and destroyed.
- Unless they are
badly overgrown or damaged, wait until the early spring to prune your
roses. There will be natural winter die back, and this, along with any
damaged canes, can be removed then. Some Hybrid Tea Roses are quite cold
sensitive and benefit from mounding with soil to protect the tender
Donít forget to
provide food and water for birds that overwinter here, as well as those
just passing through!
- Take time to
enjoy the particular charm and beauty of late fall and winter,
especially the structure and shape of threes and shrubs once the fallen
leaves are gone. Try to take comfort from the fact that most plant life
is only entering a period of dormancy, having already stored up energy
in roots and bulbs for their eagerly awaited rebirth in spring!