As we move into winter and towards the holidays I get to write my last column of the year. Thank you for the opportunities, Life is such an incredible ride so thank you for being beside me, for being with me and for allowing me to be with you.
Over these past months we have been able to solve problems and prevent others, we have discussed the power of family the strength of love and the total hate of wire grass.
We now look to close down the end of this year move into deep cold winter and for many put our landscapes out of our minds for the next few months. “BUT” were not done yet. Let’s look back at our year and get our calendar for the next. It’s time we put in an ounce of prevention and save a pound of cure.
Winter burn, Fungus, and insects can be beaten now.
Winter Burn, is a very serious and sometimes deadly issue when dealing with cold weather. This is when the cold wind dry’s the moisture from your plants but either due to frozen ground or dry ground our plants cannot replenish the lost moisture hence burning the leaf. Large foliaged plants are most susceptible to this issue however even shrubs like boxwood can and do experience the damage if we don’t ensure to keep track of a few very important details.
First check your mulch this month. The leafs have just about all fallen and we have all been raking and blowing flower beds to get rid of them for weeks. This effort removes much needed mulch. Even the most professional and efficient personnel are going to pull some mulch from flower beds while removing leafs. Walk through on your flower beds. Recognize were you are missing mulch. New plantings should have 4″ of good mulch above their roots and existing plantings should have at least 3″. My personal favorite time to get final leaf removal and winter mulching taken care of is the 3rd week of December. This allows us to remove the majority of any leafs that have and are going to fall this season while getting the root zone covered protecting our landscapes from winter burn and sprucing up our projects before the holidays.
The second thing to watch out for is long dry periods. Moisture stays in the soil much longer this time of year due to colder weather and shorter days however it is still possible for our soils to dry. Irrigation systems are turned off and by the time we get home its dark. It is very easy to forget to check your beds. I recommend at least one good watering every two weeks during the winter if you do not get any rain. Remember that calendar we talked about, were going to add a few things to your to do list.
Next week :check your mulch and beds, remove final debris and ensure proper depth of mulch.
1st and 3rd weeks of Jan, and Feb: walk though your gardens check moisture and keep beds clean and free of debris.
These few easy steps will help to ensure your shrubs make it through the winter in good health and the debris removal will also help to deter overwintering insects and or new spring insects and fungus from entering your gardens.
Best of luck to you and yours this holiday season.