The cold weather is setting in, but many plants still need attention to last through the winter.
Even more than plants, tools and plant-care products should be stored properly to prevent damage or loss. It’s just as important to have those tools ready in the spring, too.
• If 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.
• For all evergreens, camellias, rhododendron, azaleas, viburnum, and even roses, consider using a product like Wilt-Pruf. This will 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.
• Inventory your supply of liquid herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides and put them away for winter in a safe place.
Most of these chemicals will freeze if exposed to the elements and will make the product ineffective.
• 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 to 7.0 for optimum growth.
• 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 36 inches 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 two to three 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.)