Fall 2011 Tips & Tasks for your Landscape
from your garden specialist, Andrews Designs LLC
A note from Nancy, your neighborhood gardening specialist, reminding you that Winter is just around the corner. My list of tips & tasks is to help you…help your garden survive its long Winter’s nap!
It is currently time to winterize your irrigation system. All irrigation systems, including drip, must be blown out professionally every year prior to the first hard freeze. This requires blow out and drainage of all water parts, city or well water sourced, both outside and inside connections. This is essential to prevent splits, cracks and other failures to your irrigation system over the Winter. Remember also to empty all water source pipes, disconnect all hoses from the outside faucets, turn off from the inside all external water sources and leave these same outside sources open to prevent ice back up. This last task will have to be repeated each time you do your supplemental watering. Faucet covers are available at garden centers for additional insulation against the cold. Don’t forget to also wrap and insulate your exterior, above the ground, brass back flow preventor valve.
PLANTS, SHRUBS & TREES
Please note that with our flukey weather, dry winters and desiccating winds, supplemental watering is a must! All shrubs and trees planted within the last 12 to 24 months will require deep root watering with the three foot watering pole available at Home Depot/Lowes. In an extremely warm and dry weather pattern as is expected this year, please deep root water 1x a week, in moderate weather 2x a month, and in wet and snowy weather wait until the soil is dry 12” down before starting up the supplemental watering again. Evergreens will profit from a gentle hosing of branches in warm and dry spells as well. In the Fall wrap the tender trunks & larger branches of trees and shrubs to protect them from sun scorch and remove this wrap late Spring. During and after heavy snows gently shake branches to remove that weight to prevent splits, cracks, breakage and other failures and to allow the branches to resume their normal shape. Your shrubs and trees will benefit from semi and/or annual professional root feeding, OR this Fall you can purchase and install fertilizing stakes available at the box stores for deciduous trees, evergreens and shrubs.
FALL BULB PLANTING
You may plant as late in the season as you can get the trowel or shovel into the soil. My favorite trick is to stack bulbs in between soil layers in the same hole, planting the latest bloomers first, the earliest last.
Fall is a good time to renew mulch in your plant beds and around the base of your trees and shrubs. The smaller the mulch the better it is for your soil; I prefer the mini bark pebbles. Do not use unseasoned or green grass clippings as these leech nitrogen from the soil so necessary for the health of the plant materials. Grass clippings and other plant materials must decompose in a compost pile prior to use as mulch. Use only healthy leaves broken up by a mower, throwing out all diseased, buggy, or moldy leaves in the garbage, preventing the spread of these problems into the next season.
The best time to prune is during the Winter dormant season. This timing helps prevent spread of disease, shapes, and protects against storm breakage in both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Cut back perennials when they become brown, leaving grasses and their plumes for Winter beauty. Cut your grasses down to 1-2“ in early Spring prior to new growth. Roses should be pruned in the Spring once they start leafing out.
Turf needs supplemental watering even when dormant in our climate. Under windy and dry conditions 2x a month wouldn’t hurt. Note however, this will not replace the deep root watering required for your trees and shrubs. Aerate both Spring and Fall to break up the clay soils. Feed with Scotts or an organic fertilizer 1x Spring, 2x Summer, and 1x Fall. Additionally Revive is an excellent organic product to boost water retention in the lawns soil but do not use it in the planting beds as damage or loss will occur. Late Winter, early Spring is an excellent time to refresh your lawn by sprinkling new seed on top of the wet snow.
Empty and scrub out all pots to prevent disease to move on to the next season and to prevent the moisture changing from a liquid to a solid in the soil expanding and cracking the pots. If you pots are planted they should winter just fine if they are allowed to dry out properly.
REMINDER: We do Fall clean up, Winter pruning and Spring irrigation checks. Designing new gardens or remodeling old is best done over the Winter months so you’re ready to go first thing in the Spring. Give Nancy a call!
WINTER SPECIAL: 10% discount on all hardscape installations, weather permitting, November 15 – February 15. This includes patios, cement work…new & repairs, rock walls & bed edging.