Win­ter­iz­ing your gar­den

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

This week I have com­piled a list that most gar­den­ers should re­view be­fore throw­ing in the gar­den­ing gloves for the year.

Many ten­der plants can be re­moved from the gar­den if you want them in the gar­den next year. Apart from this dig­ging and stor­ing, other chores can be car­ried out this time of year to make the com­ing spring a more pleas­ant one.

Plant spring-bloom­ing bulbs — Tulips, daf­fodils, hy­acinths and cro­cuses should be planted now.

Re­mov­ing de­cid­u­ous leaves — Leaves from trees around the yard should be raked and dis­posed of prop­erly. Leaves are best placed in a com­post heap. Re­mem­ber that leaves left in the gar­den or over the lawn can cause grass dieback and opens the lawn and gar­den for dis­eases caused by pro-fun­gal and in­sect con­di­tions.

An­nu­als — All that spring work of plant­ing and sum­mer fer­til­iz­ing for big re­sults has come down to this; pulling up all your hard work. Gar­den­ers should pull up any an­nual flow­ers or veg­eta­bles that have now been dam­aged/killed by frost.

Dis­pose of these in the com­post heap if no ma­jor dis­ease is present to the naked eye. For some of us who grow many of our an­nu­als, don’t for­get that this is the per­fect time of year to har­vest seeds from com­mon gar­den an­nu­als such as petu­nias, pan­sies, vi­o­las, marigolds, snap­drag­ons, etc. I sim­ply col­lect my seeds each fall into la­beled white en­velopes and store them in a dry cup­board. Come next March-April, I sow them in­doors for sum­mer plant­ing.

Peren­ni­als — It is a good idea to cut back old herba­ceous peren­nial fo­liage and flower stalks close to a few inches above ground level.

These stalks of­ten be­come un­sightly, and re­quire re­moval in spring so why not sim­ply cut them out now and add to the com­post pile.

If you have plants which pro­duce in­ter­est­ing fo­liage or seed pods these may stay un­til spring to add win­ter struc­ture and in­ter­est but most should be re­moved to pre­vent a messy look to your prop­erty.

Weed — I re­ally have grown to strongly dis­like this word and all that it en­tails, but it must be done and as they say ‘ there is no time like the present’.

Tak­ing ag­gres­sive ac­tion in the fall of­ten pre­vents weeds from get­ting a head start next spring, sav­ing you time and en­ergy in the long run.

Dig up “ ten­ders” — Many ten­der bulbs must be re­moved from the gar­den each fall if you plan to have them the fol­low­ing year. Ten­der lilies, tuber­ous be­go­nias, gla­di­o­lus, and dahlias must be re­moved, cleaned, dried and stored well.

Pro­tect trees and shrubs — Many less hardy trees and shrubs re­quire ex­tra pro­tec­tion in our mild win­ters due to lack of snow cover in coastal re­gions, frost heave, and well be­low freez­ing tem­per­a­tures in­land and to the north.

Many of these species, such as Rhodo­den­drons, some aza­leas, and holly ( broad leaf ever­greens) can have dry­ing of the leaves and should not only be wa­tered dur­ing the fall when dry but also cov­ered with burlap, tree branched or large struc­tures that can be built or pur­chased.

I am of­ten one to say that if it needs a lot of help in win­ter, don’t buy it, but I too have those spec­i­mens that re­quire a help­ing hand. Cover those which are in wide open spa­ces where wind can dry them out and snow may not col­lect enough to cover soil. In these cases, use wraps and mulch to pro­tect next year’s buds and roots re­spec­tively.

Mulch — Trees, shrubs and peren­ni­als of­ten ap­pre­ci­ate mulch in the fall to add pro­tec­tion against tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tion that is very com­mon in New­found­land (not so much in Labrador).

Sim­ply spread light­weight or­ganic mulch, such as shred­ded au­tumn leaves, pine nee­dles, fine bark chips or straw, depend­ing on the gar­den and plant types used, over beds to pro­tect plants from win­ter.

Mulch also helps keep frozen ground frozen, which is a ma­jor is­sue in New­found­land re­gions where freezethaw cy­cles kill and rot plants, not cold tem­per­a­ture and snow as you may think.

Wa­ter — Plants need wa­ter to sup­port liv­ing cells year-round. Aside from the “apoc­a­lyp­tic” dis­as­ter that re­cently hit many gar­dens in my home­town of Bon­av­ista (and of course many oth­ers on the east coast) the fall here has been fairly dry so wa­ter­ing trees and shrubs, es­pe­cially ever­greens, is a good idea if you would like them to be green the fol­low­ing spring.

Hope­fully this check list will help you “close up shop for the win­ter,” and as al­ways, if ques­tions arise you can reach me at the fol­low­ing: john­nor­man21@gmail.com.

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