58March 03, 2010

It is so nice to see the calendar showing the month of March. March can still be a month that has its bouts with winter, but there are so many more sunny days that it makes you want to get outside and do something!

It has been a long time since we have had winds as powerful as the winds we had Thursday night. Luckily, we only lost power at the store for less than a half hour. Many people lost power and they also had a lot of damage to trees and shrubs. With soil as wet as it could be from all of the rain, many plants were pulled out of the ground by the wind gusts. Since Friday, we have had many people come into the store asking what they can do to help plants damaged by the wind.

The most common problem has been branches snapped off of plants. If this has happened in your yard, make sure to create a clean cut as close to the stem or trunk of the plant. You can use pruners or a saw to make the clean cut. If you leave a ragged break on the plant, insects and diseases will get into that area and cause more damage. The good news is that plants will put out new growth and over time, you won’t notice the damage.

Another problem that has appeared, is the cracking or splitting of a stem. This problem can be corrected by sealing the cracked area with grafting wax. The wax will seal out water and keep insects from getting into the cracked area. If the cracked area is on a major branch, you may have to use some type of supplemental support until the crack heals. This may entail bolting the branch or cabling the branch. This can be a little more technical than the average homeowner can do. Many of the Massachusetts Certified Arborists will be able to do this for you.

Another problem that has occurred is the partial uprooting of plants. The force of the wind literally pushes the plant out of the ground. You may see part of the root system out of the ground, or you may see the plants leaning at a precarious angle. All hope is not lost for many of the plants that this has happened to in your yard. In many cases, you can apply pressure to the trunk of the plant and slowly return it to its upright position. Bigger plants may require two people to do this. Once the plant is in the upright position, you should use your feet to press down on the surface of the soil. This will help to pack down the soil around the roots. Don’t be afraid to really pack the soil down. It won’t hurt the plant. On larger shrubs or small trees, you may need to use a tree staking kit to hold the plant in place while it re-roots itself during the spring and summer. Once the soil has warmed up a bit in late March, you should apply a solution of plant starter fertilizer around the base of the plant. This will help to stimulate new root growth earlier in the season.

March is also a month of hope because it is the month when you can begin to plant seeds indoors and grow the annual flowers and vegetable plants for your gardens. I’ll get into more of that next week.

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

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