Gar­den Club pre­pares for win­ter

The Weekly Vista - - Community - LYNN ATKINS

Meet­ings of the Bella Vista Gar­den Club al­ways in­clude a pro­gram which is of­ten pre­sented by some­one out­side the club. But with sev­eral mem­bers ac­tive in the Master Gar­dener pro­gram, it’s not al­ways nec­es­sary to look out­side the club for ex­pert ad­vice. At last week’s meet­ing, Gar­den Club mem­ber and master gar­dener Lou Jasper pre­sented, “An­swers to Your Gar­den­ing Ques­tions.”

Mem­bers wanted to know about cut­ting back salvia, Jasper said, and her an­swer is “not now.” Salvia, she ex­plained, is a woody plant. If the stem of any woody plant is cut, it’s hol­low and wa­ter col­lects in­side. The plant can die when the wa­ter freezes or when wa­ter causes the stem to rot. Let salvia die back on its own, she said.

An­other mem­ber wanted to know about prun­ing hy­drangeas and that an­swer de­pends on the type of hy­drangea, she said. Some bloom on old growth and those should be pruned only af­ter flow­er­ing. Other hy­drangeas bloom on new growth and should be pruned as they are go­ing dor­mant in fall or as they are “wak­ing up” in spring. Oak­leaf hy­drangeas shouldn’t be pruned at all, al­though the dead blos­soms should be re­moved.

She pro­vided a hand­out ti­tled, “Things to do in your gar­den in Novem­ber.” Be­sides prun­ing, she rec­om­mended keep­ing leaves off the grass and keep­ing the grass about 2 inches tall for the win­ter.

Novem­ber is a good month for plant­ing trees, but not hy­drangeas, Encore Aza­leas or crepe myr­tles. Those should wait for spring. Wild­flower seeds can also be planted in Novem­ber. Just spread them on a cleared spot and mix lightly with soil.

The other plant­ing chore that can be done now is adding win­ter color to a gar­den with pan­sies, vi­o­las, flow­er­ing kale or snap­drag­ons.

Shrubs can be sprayed if they have had scale or white­fly. Use dor­mant or hor­ti­cul­ture oil and be sure to spray both sides of the leaves and stems, as well as the soil be­low the plant.

Any­thing that will be over­win­tered should be in­side, she said. Plants com­ing in need to be sprayed with in­sec­ti­ci­dal soap.

Add or­ganic mat­ter to your veg­etable beds to be ready for spring plant­ing. Mulched leaves can be used in veg­etable beds.

Jasper also had a warn­ing for gar­den­ers. Poi­son hem­lock grows in this area and it looks like Queen Anne’s lace. It can kill live­stock and pets and it’s dif­fi­cult to get rid of. She rec­om­mended wear­ing gloves when work­ing around the plant be­cause some peo­ple can have a skin re­ac­tion if they touch it. Cut it down first, she said, and then con­sider spray­ing with her­bi­cide.

Mem­ber Tony LiCausi, who is also a Master Gar­dener and a pro­po­nent of or­ganic gar­den­ing, said poi­son hem­lock can be killed by burn­ing it with a propane torch.

Photo of poi­son hem­lock by Wil­liam & Wilma Fol­lette, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Data­base / USDA NRCS. 1992. West­ern wet­land flora: Field of­fice guide to plant species. West Re­gion, Sacra­mento.

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