This warm autumn has made it easy to forget that November is when the winter weather truly starts to encroach upon New England. We've been enjoying an unusually balmy stretch of glorious days, but colder temps are inevitable and it's time to focus on putting summer to bed, and preparing plants for a long winter's rest.
Plant and prune.
- Plant evergreen trees and shrubs. Evergreen trees actively set roots when temps are cooler, and the nurseries are well-stocked with fresh material to meet the demands of this ideal planting season. As an added bonus, plants don't have to be watered as often when they're installed in the fall as when they're planted during the hot summer months. Call us for ideas on how to screen an unsightly view or add visual interest with some well-sited evergreen trees or shrubs.
- Move trees and shrubs. You'll need a professional to move larger specimens; call us for advice and a quote. This summer, we moved a 4-ton weeping Japanese maple, and although it was not the best time of year for this task, not a branch was broken and the tree has adapted nicely. Check out our FB page for the story in photos.
- Give the lawn a final cut. Grass is a cool-weather crop, taking in nutrients and establishing new root growth after high summer temps have given way to chillier days. Removing fallen leaves on a regular basis allows lawns to get the sunlight they need to flourish and remain strong through the dormant months. When the grass is cut one last time, make sure to leave it slightly higher to protect the root system from wide swings in temperature.
- Prune hedges and shrubs so they're neat and crisp. Hedges and shrubs define your outdoor spaces, and provide structure for the winter, especially when dusted in snow. Unruly growth and broken branches, besides looking unkempt, can bend or break under ice and snow, leaving plants susceptible to even more damage.
- Get your bulbs in the ground. It's almost too late to plant tulips, but daffodils, crocuses and alliums can go in the ground right up until December. See our previous blog for bulb planting tips.
- Bring tender plants inside. Douse them first with a safe insecticidal product, making sure to saturate the soil. Spider mites, aphids and scale insects thrive in average home temps, and drier indoor air. Prune the plants before you bring them in, removing dead or damaged leaves and branches, and top-dress the containers with fresh potting soil.
- Turn your compost pile, and add compost around the roots of new or tender plantings. When you're pruning, make sure that diseased material is disposed of, rather than tossed onto the compost pile.
Clean and store.
- Water left in garden hoses can freeze, expand and crack the hose or fittings; drain the water, coil the hoses and stow them away. Remove pumps from water features, and clean the pump. If your water feature has elements that can crack in freezing temps, put those in your shed or garage, along with terracotta pots and garden ornaments.
- Clean out bird feeders and re-stock them; turn your birdbath over to prevent any water from collecting and freezing, which could lead to cracking.
- Clean out your shed or garage. Now is the time to rid yourself of those torn bags of fertilizer, expired sprays and old plant food. Prevent rust on your tools by sharpening blades and oiling them lightly, and rinsing the dirt off shovels, spades and edgers. Remember to bring your snow shovels to the front of the shed for easy access when the first storm hits.
Relax and plan.
Once you complete your garden to-do list, sit back and enjoy the beauty of the waning season. Buy a pumpkin from a local farm stand bake a holiday pie. Light a fire, find a comfy chair, grab a pencil and start thinking about how you want your outdoor space to look next season.
In our next blog post, we'll discuss the 5 things you should consider when planning your spring landscape projects.