17November 10, 2016

The leaves have really started to fall off the maple trees. Many of the rhododendrons are beginning to develop the winter tinge to their leaves. The blueberry bushes have developed their red leaves. All in all, fall is coming to an end – and winter cold and winter weather will soon become the norm. On the brighter side, it is only 5 months until April!

There is a whole list of things that you need to be doing in your yard before we get caught up in the decorating and the festivities of the holiday seasons. Let me give you a list of things you need to be doing now to prepare for the upcoming winter.

This is the time of the year that mice are actively making their home for the winter. In past years, I have told you about a product called Mouse Magic. This is a mouse repellent. If you place the Mouse Magic pouches inside your home, the mice will not come into your home. The pouches are replaced once every 30 to 45 days until sometime in late December. By that time, the mice have made their home and hopefully it won’t be in your house, shed or car!

Raking up leaves is a tedious project. However, you want to get the leaves off the lawn. Once the leaves are off the lawn or before the leaves get to heavy on the lawn, you should be thinking about applying your last application of lawn fertilizer. The late fall feeding will be stored in the roots and come spring, your lawn will have the nutrients necessary for the production of new blades of grass. This will help to fill in those bare spots that developed during the summer drought. You may also need to apply lime to your lawn. Lime removes the acidity from the soil. If the soil remains acidic, your lawn will not grow as well as it should.

Your rhododendrons and other broadleaf shrubs keep their leaves all winter. Along the coast, we get very dry winter winds. This dry air pulls moisture from the leaves. If the shrubs are not protected from the wind, the leaves will be damaged. Your rosebushes and your hydrangeas are also easily damaged by the dry winter winds.

There are all types of products that you can use to protect your shrubs from winter wind damage. The old standby is wrapping the shrubs with burlap. The burlap protects the plants from the wind while preventing the buildup of heat under the burlap. There is also a product called Shrub Jacket. This is a preformed wrap that allows you to cover and secure the jacket in place in one easy operation. The Shrub Jacket comes in 3 sizes, allowing you to get the right size for your plants.

Some people do not like the look of plant covers. There is a spray on wax called Wilt Pruf. Wilt Pruf is mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves of your shrubs. It can also be used on your rose bushes and your hydrangeas. Once the wax has dried, it will cut the moisture loss due to dry wind by 30 to 50%. Wilt Pruf also comes in a ready to use spray. Wilt Pruf can also be sprayed onto your wreaths, evergreen garland and greens that you use in your planters. An application of this product will help to keep these holiday decorations looking fresh a lot longer.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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