Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on November 17, 2016 by jo

Falling into Winter.....

Falling into Winter.  These seasonal transitions add a lot of things to our "to do" list.  The main thing "to do" is rake of course, which can be a fun little project for the kids.  Leaves can be composted or burned, or can be used as a mulch for tender plants than can use more protection during the winter months.  I have seen leaves pile up on areas in the lawn and kill it out over the winter and wet spring months, so it really is best to get the majority of the leaves up if you can.  After leaf removal, an application of a good fall fertilizer is beneficial for the lawn and your woody ornamentals and trees.  Here at Price Nurseries, we use Fertilome's Winterizer which is a granular product with a 25-0-6 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  Fertilization promotes root growth and helps the plants and lawn recover from the summer heat while preparing it for the next growing season.

Next on your list, clean up of perennial garden beds.  Or not.  This really depends on your schedule and how you feel about messy beds.  Leaving the old leaves and stalks through the winter and letting a few leaves gather on them can actually protect them through the winter. I usually end up raking out my beds in the early spring and they seem to do just fine.  Sometimes if you have had a disease or insect problem, it is a good idea to clean up the old stuff and then apply a new layer of mulch to protect the roots.  Some of my perennials like purple coneflower have seed heads that the birds will utilize over the winter months.  AND if you read any of my past blogs about ornamental grasses, you already know that I ABSOLUTELY recommend that you wait until spring to cut back the grasses.  They lend a lot of beauty to the winter landscape, and because so many of you use quite a number of them, if we cut them back in the fall our landscapes would look NAKED all winter! 

Something that most people don't think about doing but should in the late fall is making sure that your plants go into the winter well-watered.  Winter damage often happens because plants, especially evergreens (both broadleaf and coniferous), dry out during winter (correct term...desiccate) and can benefit from being sprayed with a product called Wilt-Pruf which is an anti-transpirant.  I recommend this for your rhododendrons, especially if they are growing somewhere where they are hit by winter sun (southern and western exposures).

OK, quit reading and get to work, the days are numbered! 

Off to water my rhodos.....Jodie


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