Dear Gardening Friends,
How did it get to be the end of December!? With such a long drawn out fall it’s hard to believe I didn’t get my shrubs covered until the beginning of December and a few things had already been munched on. If you haven’t gotten to your critter protection, do it soon. With the snow on the ground it’s easy to see tracks from visiting deer and rabbits. If you don’t protect susceptible trees and shrubs they will be easy fodder for hungry 4 legged visitors.
- Fencing is the best protection. I use the heavy deer mesh fencing and it works very well. The lighter weight mesh can be easily breached by deer.
- Many of the sprays are not effective in colder temperatures. Look for one that is appropriate to use in temps below freezing.
- Burlap or shrub coat coverings are good for shrubs that need protection from winter winds.
- When protecting from rabbits the fencing needs to be high enough to go above the expected snow depth by 2 feet.
Other winter tips:
- Gather boughs from discarded Christmas trees to use as a protective mulch. Any tender perennials or ones planted this past season should have some extra protection from fluctuating temperatures. Simply lay the boughs over the plants and remove them in the spring. Easy and effective.
- If your ground is snow covered, store the boughs and place when the snow melts.
- If the snow isn’t too deep you can put the boughs right over the snow.
- Remove any dead branches from trees and shrubs that might fall during winter storms.
- Check any houseplants you brought in for the winter for insects and remove any leaves that have withered.
- An occasional “shower” bath is great for houseplants to wash away dust and control insects. Spray top and bottom of leaves with soapy water and rinse with the sink nozzle or in the shower.
- If you have holiday plants, remove the decorative foil as water will build up in the bottom. If you want to keep the foil on, just drain out excess water after watering the plant.
- Keep these plants out of cold drafts and direct sunlight.
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!