Saturday, November 5, 2011

Check List for Preparing Your Gardens for Old Man Winter

  • Make sure your gardens, especially your evergreen trees and shrubs are watered well before freeze-up.
  • Mound your roses.
  • Wrap sensitive evergreens in burlap (to prevent winter sun or wind burns) or build a screen around them using burlap stapled to 1X2’s.
  • Install protective cages around tree trunks and shrubs that are prone to deer or rabbit injury in the winter.
  • Make sure trellises and vines are secure and able to withstand the strong winter winds.
  • Cleanup all fallen debris that is diseased and dispose of it in the garbage, do not compost it.
  • Compost the season’s annuals.
  • Cut back the majority of perennials to 4-12” (a few perennials that should not be cut back include: Big leaf hydrangeas that bloom on old wood, Roses (unless the canes are very long, in which case they can be shortened to approx. 3’ to prevent winter wind damage), Heuchera’s and Heucherella’s, Hellebores, Chrysanthemums, Clematis, Lavender, among others.) Seed-bearing perennials such as black-eyed Susan’s and Echinacea can also be left, since they're attractive in a winter garden and provide food for the birds. Ornamental grasses can also be left uncut for winter interest. NOTE: Do not cut down your perennials to short. Leaving longer stems will help to collect winter snow which acts as an excellent insulator for your plants.
  • Inspect iris tubers for signs of rot and iris bore damage. Remove and destroy all rotted tubers and it is a good practice to remove all foliage to remove overwintering iris bore eggs.
  • Lift sensitive bulbs (like Cannas, Gladioli and dahlias and store in a cool, dry, dark place…temperature must be above freezing).
  • Avoid pruning trees and shrubs this time of year. Pruning is only recommended for dead or diseased branches or branches that are weak and may easily be damaged by snow and ice accumulation.
  • If you plan on mulching your beds with shredded up leaves, wood chips or some other type of mulch hold off until just before or just after freeze up. This will expose soil borne insects to the fidget temperatures helping to reduce next year populations. Careful not to mulch right up to your shrubs and trees thus creating a cozy home for mice to overwinter.
  • Bury potted plants (that are hardy to your zone) in the ground.
  • Pot up any sensitive plants that are not hardy to your zone and bring in doors for the winter. Spray all plant surfaces with an insecticidal soap and add about 1/2" to 1" of sand on the surface of the soil. The soap will help to control any insects that feed on the plant while the sand helps prevent flying insects from laying eggs in the soil.
  • Store away garden statuary, bird baths and other garden ornaments that may be damaged or weekend during the winter.
  • When you have finished with your tools for the season give them a good cleaning. Then using a rag spread a thin coat of olive oil or horticultural oil over the entire surface (to prevent rusting) and store in a dry place.

1 comment:

  1. Great list for setting up the landscape to be ready for the wintry days.