~ November 3, 2010 ~
Gettin' Chilly Out There...
What a beautiful day to be outside! I am exhausted as my day was filled with cutting back roses, raking,
draining the fountain and yes... acorn pick-up. My Homerun roses were out of control so I gave them a good prune.
You can see by the
pictures that I had to use my big pruners to do the initial cut and then I went back in and did a
little more clean-up with my hand pruners. It was a prickly job. It is a great time to cut back
Both of these species grow like crazy so don't be afraid to be aggressive. I cut my
Homerun roses back last fall
and spring and they almost doubled in size. It is hard to believe it is the first week of November and they are still
in full bloom. It pained me to cut off all of those beautiful blooms so instead of tossing them,
I put them in a vase
and brought them inside. They are simply gorgeous!
It looks as if it is going to be quite chilly the next two mornings. Tomorrow morning
and Friday morning will be at freezing, maybe a little above. It is November so I guess it is to be expected. It looks
as if we will see the temperatures bounce back up during the day. Temperatures will be back into the mid 60's and even
70's. Warm smile :-) No complaint here as I will try to milk this mild weather as long as I can.
Don't forget to fall back on Sunday morning. Dark so early... UGH! The days become shorter and that makes me pretty unhappy.
It's hard to be as happy about things when its dark outside. Wouldn't you agree?
To protect perennial plants from winter damage, it is important that
they go into winter with moist soil. It’s been a warm, dry fall in
many areas of Kansas, so consider watering. Although all perennial
plants will benefit from watering during a dry fall, it is especially
important for evergreens because moisture is easily lost from the
foliage and newly planted trees and shrubs due to limited root systems.
A good, deep watering with moisture reaching at least a foot down into
the soil is much better than several light sprinklings that just wet the
top portions of the soil. This will ensure that the majority of roots have
access to water. The roots that actually absorb water are killed when the
soil temperature reaches 28°F. Those near the surface do not last long in
our Kansas City winters. We must rely on roots that are deeper, and provide
moisture for them to absorb. Depth of watering can be checked with a metal
rod or wooden dowel. Either instrument will easily penetrate moist soil but
will stop when dry soil is reached.
Help For The Not So Hardy...
Our first freeze is behind us and more are on the way. So, it's time to do
something with those non-hardy bulbs we planted last spring. Here's what
Cut the tops of dahlia plants back to about 3 inches
above the soil. Then dig the roots out of the ground, being careful not
to break the neck. Place the root clumps upside down
and allow them to dry for several hours before storing.
Cut gladiolus tops back close to the base, leaving no more than
an inch or so of the stem. Remove the excess soil from the
corms. Spread the corms out in a well-ventilated place, such
as a garage, for about three weeks. Once dried thoroughly,
remove the old corms, stems and husks and discard them. The
healthy new corms are then ready for storing.
Cut back canna stems to about 6 inches. Dig the rhizomes out
of the ground and dry for a few hours in the sun. Then bring
them in for storage.
Dig tuberous begonias, tops and all, after frost blackens the
tops. Put them in a frost-free place for a week or 2 for
drying. Once dry, cut the tops back to about 3 inches from the
tuber. Let tubers dry for about 2 more weeks. Then break off
the stem stubs and shake the excess soil from the tubers.
Dahlias, cannas, and begonias can be stored surrounded by
vermiculite or peat moss in a shallow box. Gladioli should be
stored in a paper bag.
If slugs were a problem this year, clean up vegetable gardens
and perennial borders very thoroughly. Dry autumn weather sends
these mollusks searching for damp hiding places. If you deprive
them of moist areas that they can use to stay alive, you can
significantly decrease the potential for damage next year.
Winter Rose Protection...
Get your roses ready for winter by
cutting them back to about 36 inches. Mound mulching material
(compost, straw, leaves, etc...) at least 12 inches deep around
the remaining stems to provide protection from freezing and soil
heaving. Next spring you'll cut back any of the wood that didn't
survive the winter and your roses will be ready for another great
Keep Your Cutters Clean...
Your shears and loppers are probably getting a good workout
as you tidy up the garden and landscape. Keep them in good
working order by wiping them with a rag dipped in paint thinner
to remove sticky resins. Regular sharpening and a periodic
thorough oiling will help the better tools last forever.
Mice + Mulch = Mischief...
Mice and other rodents like to creep around and underneath
mulched areas. Who can blame them? It's warm there! But they
can be mischievous little creatures too. To prevent them from
gnawing on your tree trunks and shrubs keep mulch pulled back
several inches from the bases of your trees and shrubs.
A November application of fertilizer is extremely important
to keep your lawn healthy and looking good this fall and next
year. Late fall Nitrogen promotes good root development,
enhances storage of energy reserves, and extends color retention
this fall. Most of the benefits from late fall Nitrogen will be
seen next spring and summer with earlier green-up, improved
density, and improved tolerance to diseases and other stresses.
Apply near or after your last mowing of the year, but while grass
is still green. Timing is not overly critical as there may be a
month or more between your last mowing and the time the grass
turns brown or goes under snow cover. Generally Thanksgiving is
a good target fertilzing date but because it's so late this year
we'll shoot for any time in the first few weeks of November. Use
a soluble Nitrogen source such as urea, ammonium nitrate, or
ammonium sulfate and apply 1 to 1½ lbs. N/1000 sq. ft.
"A little peace in an orchard grew - A little peach of
Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,
~ Eugene Field