Winterizing Your Gardens

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Gardening Tips | 0 comments

Winterizing Your Gardens
The Fall is a great time to evaluate your gardens, clean away debris, move or divide plants, and provide nutrients to your soils. We at Moore Blooms Garden Center recommend that you spend some time with your gardens now and it will pay in dividends next season.

What better time to look back at the Summer and ask yourself “Was I happy with the way the gardens performed and what would I change or improve?”
Although plants may perform better one season to the next, healthy plants in the proper spot(shade/sunlight) with the right spacing and in good soil will surely do well each and every year. If you had some plants or shrubs that failed to meet your expectations, now is the time to do something about it. Diseased plants should be removed and disposed of (not in your compost pile) or at least tended to if the problem can be cured. Black Spot for instance on roses, cannot be treated once the onset has occurred, however, removing all the dead leaves and thoroughly cleaning the bed will help prevent a reoccurrence next year as long as you spray with a fungicide before it begins in the Spring. While we are on the topic of cleaning your beds, removing any weeds to help prevent the spread of seeds as well as cutting back the dead flowers or stems from the plants is well worth the effort. Some pruning can be done now, but be careful not to cut back shrubs like Rhododendrons and Mop-Head Hydrangeas as they produce buds during the Summer for the following year.
Plant Fall perennials such as Sedum, Asters, Echinacea, Caryopteris, etc. in areas that could use some color. Dividing perennials can also be done in early Fall as well as moving Summer and Fall blooming shrubs to other locations. This needs to be done early to allow the plants time to root in their new location. It is also a good idea to mulch them well to protect them during the Winter to prevent frost heaving.
Now is the time to dig your tender bulbs like dahlias, cannas, etc. and store indoors in a cool, dark, and airy space. Late Fall is when you want to plant your Spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils,etc. , but you want to wait until it gets cooler to prevent them from starting to sprout.
Stake young trees to prevent wind damage, also wrap the trunks to avoid damage from animals such as rabbits and deer, and to prevent splitting. For your evergreens ( rhody’s, azaleas, Leyland Cypress,etc.) you should spray with anti-desiccant and/or wrap with burlap.
Roses need care also. Besides cleaning dead foliage , you should cut back the canes to about 30” , and mound mulch 15 to 18 inches. Be sure to remove the mulch by early Spring, once the severe Winter conditions have subsided, to about 2 inches to allow it to breathe and not cause it to rot.
Now that you have cleaned, divided, and moved your shrubs into their new homes, it’s time to prepare the beds for next Spring by spreading compost or manure on the gardens. You can spade it in when the ground thaws in the Spring. Bring in any houseplants, clay pots, etc. that have been placed in the gardens or on the patio before any signs of cold weather, which is night time temps below 45 degrees. Inspect for any signs of pest infestation before you bring your plants inside. Allow some time to spray your plants and kill any bugs before you bring them inside. Besides spraying, submerge the pot into lukewarm water for 15 minutes which will drive out any passengers that have burrowed down into the soil. You may also want to repot your plants at this time if they have become pot-bound or show signs of roots coming out of the drain holes.
It’s time to turn your attention to the vegetable gardens to get them ready for the Spring planting. After all of the veggies have been harvested, except for some Fall items like turnip or Fall broccoli and cauliflower, the garden needs to be cleaned of plant debris and weeds, and planted with a cover crop such as winter rye. It is also a good time have your soil tested and to add amendments as necessary. Coat your garden with manure, seaweed, or other compost which can then be tilled in the Spring along with the cover crop. This will build up your garden’s nutrients back into shape after feeding your plants all Spring and Summer long.
Just remember that a little effort now will yield a significant improvement to your gardens come Spring and Summer.