by Ken Morgan
As the drought conditions continue, continue once-weekly soakings of all trees and shrubs.
Remember, plants need 1 inch of rain weekly, especially now that they are preparing to go dormant.
1. For all evergreens, camellias, rhododendron, azaleas, viburnum, and even roses, consider using Wilt-Pruf. This product will help seal in the moisture and help protect the plant from winter’s bitter drying winds, and protect the crown of newly planted shrubs when freezing and thawing cycles occur. One application will be enough for the winter season.
1. Set your mower height to 2-2.5 inches when mowing, being sure the blades are sharpened so as to not pull or tear the grass.
When your last mowing of the season has occurred, service the mower according to the owners manual and sharpen the blades.
I recommend adding Stabil to your fuel to prevent the fuel from breaking down. A little attention now to these issues, will make for an easier spring start-up.
2. Add ground limestone to shrubs that need high alkaline soil pH for next spring.
Arborvitae, boxwood, privet, and yew all need a pH of 6.7-7.0 for optimum growth.
1. Prune back any long canes of your rose bushes now to prevent the winter winds from whipping them about.
It is suggested to cut them back to 36inches and spray them with Wilt-pruf to prevent winter drying from the winds.
Be sure to mulch your roses as the freezing and thawing cycles we experience in the winter can cause the root crown to heave up out of the ground, thus killing your rose. Apply 2-3 inches of hardwood mulch.
2. Once your perennial and annual beds are all cleaned up, keep checking on them to make sure any dandelions and any other weeds have taken root.
They are easy to spot now and are easy to pull up and dispose of before they are allowed to grow.
1. This is the last chance to plant tulips, crocus, hyacinths and other spring bulbs.
Dig holes 2 inches deeper than needed and put down a tablespoon of bulb-tone, then place the bulb on top of the fertilizer and backfill the hole.
2. Fertilize your bramble fruits now, including raspberries and blackberries.
Use a fertilizer high in organics which will feed now and jump-start the spring growing season. I recommend Plant-tone by Espoma.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)