We’ve been slowly working our way down the list of fall garden “to-do’s” as discussed a few weeks back in our checklist. Now the rubber hits the road–we’ve experienced a nice hard frost, and though the past few fall days would lure us to believe differently, Mother Nature is one whim away from shutting us down for the season outdoors.
The 10-day weather outlook points to highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s by the end of the period, which means that some of those garden chores may have to move up the priority list. Here are some pointers to help you wrap those tasks up so you’ll be in good shape to hunker down for winter:
- Rain hasn’t been as plentiful in the past several days, so make sure and do some deep watering on shrubs and trees before wrapping up the hose for the season.
- Buy either plastic or paper tree wraps and put them around trees susceptible to winter freeze/thaw–especially maples and crab apples. Make sure to use light colored or white wraps, as dark corrugated piping will actually increase temperatures around the bark and put it ask risk for freezing and cracking.
- Put netting, cages or other structures around shrubs and trees that are popular targets for rodents, rabbits and deer.
- Spray an antidessicant like WiltPruf or Wilt Stop on broadleaf evergreens like yews and boxwood. Remembers that these products need to be applied in above freezing temps to ensure they dry, rather than freeze on the leaves.
- Wait until the soil temperatures have gotten into the 30s (next week?) before applying mulch or covering tender plants and roses. Applying mulch to early can trap heat in the ground and the idea is to keep the plant at as uniform a temperature in dormancy as possible.
If you knock these chores off in the next week, you can turn your thoughts to pumpkin pies, turkeys and sugarplums and settle in for a great winter of feeding birds, shoveling snow and dreaming of next year’s garden!