22September 26, 2012

There are a few chores for you to do to get ready for the upcoming cold weather.

Fall is the only time you can plant spring flowering bulbs. The bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and crocus all need to be planted in the fall. They need to develop a root system in the fall, undergo a period of cold soil temperatures and as the soil warms in the spring, the bulbs will put up their flowers. Planting these bulbs is not a complicated process. Last year, the Holland bulb growers introduced an advertising campaign called Dig, Drop Done. In a nutshell, you dig a hole, drop in the bulbs, cover them with soil and you are done. Sounds simple? It is! You need to plant bulbs in an area that gets sun for 4 to 6 hours. The soil should be well drained. Dig a hole 1 foot in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep, depending on the type of bulb you are planting. Tulip and daffodil bulbs will require 6 bulbs to each hole. Crocus and other smaller bulbs will require 10 bulbs per hole. Arrange the bulbs in the bottom of the hole, pointed end up. Cover the bulbs with soil and water the soil. On to digging the next hole! It’s that easy. Nothing says spring like the sight of the first crocus flowers.

The winter can be rough on your shrubs. The wind in the winter is a very dry wind. This wind can pull moisture out of the leaves and twigs of your shrubs. Constant exposure to wind can lead to your shrubs drying out and dying during the winter months. You can prevent this from happening by protecting your shrubs from the wind. This can be accomplished by wrapping the shrubs with burlap. The burlap allows some air to pass through the fabric yet doesn’t allow heat to build up inside the wrap during a warm winter day. Trapped heat can lead to the death of the plant. Rolls of burlap are available at garden stores. If you live in a very windy area, you may need to put stakes in the ground to help to hold the burlap in place.

Another way to protect your plants from the winter wind is to spray the plants with an anti-desiccant spray. This product is a wax that is sprayed onto the leaves and twigs of plants that are exposed to a lot of dry wind. The spray needs to be applied when the temperatures are above 40 degrees and the spray needs to dry during daylight hours. The wax forms a protective coating that cuts moisture loss by 30 to 50 %. This spray is usually applied during early October and into November. You do need to keep in mind that the spray needs to be applied when temperatures are above 40 degrees. Some years the cold comes and stays during early November. Plan ahead.

Your shrubs will also benefit from being watered on a regular basis during the fall. Shrubs take up water in the fall and store it in the leaves and twigs. This allows some moisture to be lost in the winter without damage to the plants. If Mother Nature isn’t providing the water each week, you need to be doing this important fall task.

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

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