November 14, 2007
Roses Still Red?
It is hard to believe that the middle of November is upon us
and there are still roses in bloom. We have been through several
frosts, one freeze and there are still many annuals alive and
thriving as well. How is it that these
plants are still alive? The answer is quite simple. In many
gardens there are areas called micro-climates. These areas are
protected from the elements, may be close to
a source of warmth, and may receive more sunlight. Pay
close attention to these places. When it starts to snow (which
it will) you will notice that the snow will melt faster in these
areas. This is a good thing to know when planting so make sure
to take notes. This will give you the knowledge you will need
when planting or transplanting in the spring.
Well, guess what?
There is no rain in the forecast for the next
seven days. It is dry and you need to water. Just because
it is cold doesn't mean that the garden does not need the
moisture. So if your irrigation system has been shut off pull
out the hoses and give everything a good drink. I watered all
day on Monday and the lawn in particular looks great. Watering
is key even through the winter months especially for newly
planted trees and shrubs.
During the winter months, rabbits often gnaw on the bark of
many woody plants. Heavy browsing can result in the complete
girdling of small trees and small branches clipped off at snow
level. Apple, pear, crabapple and serviceberry are frequent
targets of rabbits. Small trees with smooth, thin bark are the
most vulnerable. Other frequently damaged plants include the
winged euonymus or burning bush, Japanese barberry, dogwood,
roses and raspberries.
way to prevent rabbit damage to young trees is to place a
cylinder of hardware cloth (1/4 inch mesh wire fencing) around
the tree trunk. The hardware cloth cylinder should stand about 1
to 2 inches from the tree trunk and 20 inches above the ground.
The bottom 2 to 3 inches should be buried beneath the soil. Small
shrubs, roses and raspberries can be protected with chicken wire
Now that we've got a couple of killing frosts under our belts
it's time to do some cutting back of dormant perennials. Cut
them back to about 3 inches above the soil surface. Once the
ground is frozen, they can be mulched to guard against
displacement due to soil heaving. These simple steps will help
ensure a successful show of foliage and color next season.
Well Watered For Winter...
For maximum winter protection,
Savvygardeners need to water landscape evergreens thoroughly once
every week or so until the ground freezes. Evergreens continue
to lose moisture from their foliage all winter, but once the
ground is frozen, they'll be unable to take up enough water to
replace it. Sending them into winter well watered reduces the
potential for damaged foliage. There's more... broadleaved and
tender evergreens exposed to drying winds and sun may need to be
shaded on the south and southwest sides to reduce moisture loss
and foliage injury.
Cold Storage At Your
Looking for a good place to store root crops? Just look
down! Carrots, radishes, turnips and Jerusalem artichokes store
well outdoors in the ground. Just before the ground freezes,
bury them under a deep layer of leaves or straw to protect the
ground from freezing. Simply harvest them as needed during
winter by pulling back this protective mulch and digging them
up. Just make sure you replace the mulch after each visit!
And Vegetables Don't Get Along...
If you decide to store your vegetables indoors (instead of in
the ground like we mentioned above) make sure you don't place
them with any apples or pears. As they sit these fruits give off
ethylene gas which speeds up the breakdown of vegetables and
causes them to develop off-flavors. Yuck!
Preparing for Winter...
Each year we are asked for a reminder of what to do to
prepare for winter. While recent temperatures
have been up and down, there is no doubt that permanent cold
weather is around the corner. Take
advantage of the current mild weather and prepare for winter
now, while you can still work in relative comfort outdoors!
You'll find a handy checklist in our feature article,
Preparing for Winter in the Garden...
Wild Things In
Wild onion and wild garlic are difficult-to-control weeds.
These weeds look very similar to the garden variety onion except
the stems of the wild type are much thinner and do not grow as
tall as the garden variety. The most effective method for
controlling onion and garlic is to create a dense turf through
proper fertilization and regular mowing, thereby making these
weeds less noticeable and less problematic. Wild onion and garlic
die back to underground bulbs during early summer, but bulbs will
germinate during the fall and winter. Selective chemical control
is difficult and normally ineffective, so co-existing with these
plants is often the best choice. One method is to apply 2,4-D
immediately after mowing so the herbicide can enter through the
cut leaves. This will usually burn back the leaves but may not
kill the underground bulb, thus multiple years of applications
will be needed.
something rough and tumble about planting - because with our
clumsy implements we must reach from our atmospheric element
down into another, down into the darkness of the soil."