by Sage & Snow Garden Club
November 12, 2012
It was a beautiful, but dry, year for our plants. I want to ensure that my trees & other plants come through the winter in good shape, so I've been looking into how to do that. Here are a few tips on the topic. As my mother Fannie always said, "Dig It!"
I have been watering my trees once a week all summer. How should I water my trees now that the seasons are changing?
Signed, Walter Moore
You need to treat your deciduous trees & evergreens trees differently. Keep watering the evergreens as usual until the ground freezes or there is snow on the ground. There are different opinions regarding the watering of evergreens. Some say the trees donít go into the same type of dormancy as deciduous trees, therefore the cessation of watering to "harden off" wonít have the same affect & the need to water them is more important. Others say to stop watering everything until leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees. What Iíve always done is continue watering in large amounts until it canít be done anymore.
For your deciduous trees, after a hard freeze stop watering until the trees lose their leaves. Then, water once a week until the ground freezes or until there is snow on the ground. This will help your trees prepare for winter.
This year I purchased some evergreens from the Sublette County Conservation
District. My trees have done well over the summer, but I wonder what to do for them before the winter.
Signed, Freezing to Death
Fall is the right time to make sure that your trees will survive the winter. We need to think about feeding, watering, protection from the drying effects of wind & sun, as well as protection from wildlife. Continue to water your evergreens out to the tree's natural drip line until the ground freezes. On warmer winter days melting snow will provide adequate water throughout the cold period. Feed with fertilizer evergreen spikes, which you can purchase at any local nursery or hardware store; simply follow the instructions on the number of spikes/tree trunk width & hammer the spikes into the ground alongside the tree.
It is also important to wrap your evergreens with burlap - young trees will look like they have a winter coat on! Start by tying the branches up against the trunk & secure with bailing twine (cheapest source is the recycle center!). Next wrap your tree with burlap -Source burlap online or at larger hardware stores allowing about 12 feet burlap for a 3 foot tree. Burlap should be wrapped firmly twice around the tree & secured with baling twine wrapped firmly around the tree (remember that our winters bring strong winds). It is also a good idea to add a 1-2" layer of mulch around the trees (horse manure, layers of newspaper on the ground topped with wood bark, or compost), ensuring that you keep mulch 2" away from the trunk. Finally, consider sprinkling your favorite wildflower mix in with the horse manure/compost for added
interest next year.
Are there any gardeners who would be willing to let me see how they winterize their plants?
Signed, Peeping Tom
Of course! Gardeners are usually a gregarious lot & we are no exception here in Sublette County. If you call Garden Club officers Jeanne (307-367-4212) or Doris (307-367-6512), they can set you up. We would love to have you at our next Club meeting on November 20 (usually the third Tuesday in the month) to share your information. We get together at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale (307-367-4728). Social time starts at 4:30 P.M., followed by a short business session at 5:00 P.M. To find out more about the Garden Club & access all Ask Flora (previously Dig It!) articles, visit our website at www.sageandsnow.org. Our educational topic will be holiday crafts projects.
Do I need to mulch hardy shrub roses & Knockout types?
Signed, Mel Thorne
Just to be on the safe side, I would mulch all your cultivated roses (our wild roses seem to do just fine without any attention!). Also, here are a few tips by season.
Spring -- Winter protection for hybrid tea roses starts at planting time. While the directions on the pot may say to plant the rose with the bud union (the swollen area at the base of the plant where the canes emerge) above ground level, in cold climates like ours that is not true. Plant the bud union about 2" below ground level. If the bud union is above ground it may die, leaving the plant to send canes up from the rootstock, which will have very poor (or no) flowers.
Summer -- Keep blossoms pruned to encourage continued blooming. Be vigilant & proactive to keep insects & diseases at bay. Feed & water regularly through the summer, but quit feeding your roses by the end of July to help them slow their growth & begin hardening off for winter.
Fall -- Fall is the most crucial time to prepare your roses for winter. Discontinue deadheading mid-September. Leave the hips (seed heads) to encourage the plant to go dormant for winter. Water sparingly to discourage young tender growth in late fall. You can prune now to 2 or 3 feet, but wait until spring to prune down to about 8".
Now is the perfect time to put roses to bed for the winter. First, water deeply to ensure they have plenty of moisture to hold them through the winter. Then mulch heavily at the base of the plant.
There are as many methods to protect roses in the winter as there are gardeners, including straw bales, Styrofoam rose cones, stakes & burlap, & nursery pots with the bottoms cut out (to form a cylinder around the rose) filled with mulch.