October 27, 2016
The leaves have begun to fall! I guess that means that we will be hearing the sound of leaf blowers for the next month. Even though raking leaves is much harder to do, there is something almost hypnotic about the sound of leaves being raked into a pile. Once the leaves have been raked up, what do you do with your leaves? I would guess that the vast majority of you would bag up the leaves and send them off to the leaf dump. If you have a compost pile, in the fall you have plenty of leaves to add to the pile. Composting works best when you mix in green material, grass clippings and household leafy vegetable matter and brown material like fallen leaves. If you don’t get the correct combination of green material to brown material, your compost pile is slow to decay. In the spring, you have a lot of grass clippings. If you place all of them into your compost pile, the pile usually does nothing except smell really bad. If you mixed in some of those dead leaves that you threw away in the fall, your compost pile would be working properly. While you are raking up your leaves this fall, take a few plastic bags and fill them with leaves. You can then takes those bags of leaves and set them aside until spring. Once you start to cut the grass, you can use those leaves to mix in with your grass clippings to create a better working compost pile.
As the temperatures drop and the shrubs in your yard begin to go dormant, you need to be preparing your shrubs for winter. Luckily, we have been getting rain. The rain is doing the watering that plant roots need to repair themselves. The water is also taken up into the plant and stored in the leaves and branches allowing the shrubs to survive the dry winter winds. In the past, I have told you about applying an anti-desiccant spray to your broadleaf evergreens. This type of spray is a wax that is mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves of your evergreen shrubs. The wax sets up on the leaves and forms a coating that slows the loss of moisture to the dry winter wind. The spray can slow the water loss by 30 to 50%. You need to apply this spray when temperatures are above 40 degrees and the spray needs to dry in daylight hours. This allows the spray to properly form the film on the leaves of your plants. This spray should also be applied to the canes of your hydrangeas and should be applied to the canes of your rose bushes. The anti-desiccant spray that we carry in the store is called Wilt Pruf. It comes as a ready to use spray and as a concentrate that you mix with water. It has been used for decades in the nursery industry to protect over-wintered plants. With a dry summer and with many plants stressed by dry soil, there is a great potential for the death of plants if you don’t protect those plants from the dry winter winds. You have spent a lot of money landscaping your yard. Don’t take a chance on losing your valuable shrubs by not protecting the shrubs from the dry winds that will occur this winter.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.