Dear Gardening Friends,
Happy November! We’re not off to a good start weather wise but hopefully it will improve. It seems like we went from summer to winter and where was fall!?
If you’re anything like me there is a lot of yard work to be done. The following are some tips for late fall:
- I just finished 1 ½ hours of weeding. With the moistened soil (and mature weeds) it was a perfect scenario. Remember every weed you remove now won’t be there in the spring!
- Any annuals that are still out should be pulled. With a heavy frost they will get mushy and not as easy to pull.
- Unfortunately it’s too late to bring in annuals to overwinter. The cold temps have weakened them and they wouldn’t survive.
- Containers you are storing for the winter can be put away if you haven’t already done it. I put mine in the garage and cover them with a large pile of leaves. Other options are; bury them in the garden up to the top of the pot or in the compost pile and then cover with leaves or straw. I then cover the leaves with fine deer mesh to prevent them from blowing away and keep squirrels and chipmunks from digging them up.
- If you have a sheltered area next to the garage or house that is out of the wind that can work as well. Just pack them tightly together and cover with leaves/straw.
- Any untreated ceramic or terra cotta pots should not be left out all winter.
- It’s still not too late to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs.
- If you wanted to re-seed any grass and ran out of time believe it or not you can still do it. The grass seed won’t germinate in these temperatures but will be all set to go in the spring. For thorough directions check out late season grass seeding on line.
- When the grass stops growing and you mow it for the last time leave the leaves on the grass and mulch them up while cutting the grass. The mulched leaves help protect the grass over the winter and decompose to feed the soil. If the leaves are super thick in spots just spread them, out.
- Don’t forget to save up some leaves for compost and/or mulch next season. You can also spread some now to cover the bare ground in the gardens. The mulched leaves help protect the soil from temperature fluctuations, protect the crowns and roots of plants and will decompose in the spring.
- Mound five to six inches of soil around the bases of roses. Use soil from another part of the garden so you don’t damage the roots of your roses by digging near them.
- If you have critter problems now is the time to erect fencing and other barriers. The trunks of young trees can be wrapped with trunk wraps to protect them from the nibbling of mice and rabbits. You can also use chicken wire cages or hardware wire. Be sure the protection goes high enough so critters don’t sit on top of the snow to browse and spread over the ground about a foot around the plant so they can’t dig under it.
- If deer are an issue heavy duty deer mesh works well. For shrubs like taxis and arbs you can just wrap the shrub in the netting. For other shrubs use stakes to attach the mesh and form a protective circle around the shrub. Remember to make the barrier high enough. Deer can stand on their hind legs to eat.
- Shrub coats and burlap tents are good for protecting from wind damage. Basically you are fortifying your yard for the winter!
- Check stored firewood for insect infestations. Remember not to use or move firewood from out of your area to help prevent the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer. It’s illegal to move firewood more than 50 miles in NYS.
- Check any outside plants you brought in for the winter for insects. Giving them a soap and water bath once a month is a good idea. I use s squirt of Dawn and some water to make a suds and a soft sponge to wash the leaves with it. Then rinse well. Large plants you can put in the shower.