Tag Archives: Winter

Repairing Winter Damage In Your Garden

Winter Garden Damage – What Now?

Winter can offer obstacles for our gardens.  Cold, snow, ice, freeze/thaw cycles, wind, salt from treating roads and sidewalks are a few that spring to mind. Most of those obstacles can be readily overcome, but some are more challenging.

Cold, Snow, Freeze/Thaw Cycles – In Other Words, Normal Winter For Cold Winter Climates

These issues can by and large be mitigated by choosing plants that are cold hardy for our area and that are suited to the spot in your garden where they are being planted.

What does suited to the location mean?  It means if you have a place where the wind tends to come whistling through the garden, don’t plant something that is susceptible to wind damage.  Put that plant in a spot where it is protected from wind.  If a plant doesn’t like wet feet, don’t plant it in the low, wet spot in your garden.  Putting each plant in a spot where it can thrive leads to good plant health. And healthy plants are much better able to survive adverse winter conditions than unhealthy plants

Unusually Cold Temperatures

After the Cold has Passed

Annuals – if the foliage is brown and or mushy, remove it and compost or discard it.  Plan on replacing your plants in spring.

Herbaceous Perennials –Remove brown and mushy foliage.  However, do NOT assume that the plants are dead.  Even if you are used to the plants remaining green throughput the winter, they may not be dead.  Many perennials are “root hardy” which means that although the foliage and stems are dead, the plant will regrow from the root system.   In spring, be lazy and wait a bit.  Give the “dead” plants time to regrow from the roots before replacing them with new plant material.

Shrubs – Do nothing.  This is another great time to be a lazy gardener.  Resist the temptation to help and just wait for spring. See what new growth emerges and prune after you can see the true damage to your plants.  If there are obviously broken branches, you can remove them, but other than that – hands off. Pruning now could encourage new growth too early, which can harm the plant. Branches that may appear to be dead, may not be. Once spring gets here and the shrub leafs out with new growth, you will then know for sure which parts of the shrub are dead and can be safely removed.

Ice

Ice is pretty much the cruelest thing that can happen to your garden in winter.  The sheer weight can be devastating.  You are going to want to try and rush out and help your plants.  Resist that urge.  Do NOT try to help.  Take a deep breath and procrastinate. Do not knock ice off branches; channel your grade school days and keep your hands to yourself.  Allow the ice to naturally melt.  The branches beneath the ice will be brittle, trying to remove the ice is most likely going to lead to more damage to the plant, not help.

The rest can be pruned to shape, if needed or if you want to.  This may mean sacrificing blooms on spring blooming shrubs.  If you don’t mind a somewhat bedraggled shrub in your landscape, wait until after the spring blooming shrubs flower and then prune to shape.

Trees:  Remove downed branches or trees, if you can safely do so, or hire someone with experience to take care of this task.  For broken branches and additional pruning, it is best to hire a certified arborist to assess and service the plants.  Trees are a long term investment and much harm can be done by accident.  Let the professionals handle it.

Salt Damage

You may already recognize that salt really isn’t all that great for plants.  Salt applied by road crews or on sidewalks by homeowners can end up in nearby garden beds.  There are a couple of ways to deal with this issue.

If you can reasonably assume that salt will be applied regularly, consider choosing plants that can withstand a bit of salt (yes, we have circled back around to Right Plant, Right Place).   Internet searches will yield good results for plants lists.

If salt is unlikely to be an issue, then you may prefer not to limit your plant selection.  The best way to deal with an unusual application of salt to plants is water.  Once the temps warm up and snow cover melts, lightly spray off plants to wash off any salt that might be on foliage.  Then in early spring, water the affected areas heavily to wash the salts out of the main root zone of the plants.  You want to soak at least 6 inches of soil.  This will allow the majority of roots to reside in soil where the salt has been flushed out.

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Wild Garlic or Wild Onion?

Which one do you have in your lawn or garden?

wild_garlic_plants          wild-onion

Wild Garlic                                         Wild Onion

Both are perennial, spread by seed, bulb, and bulblet. Wild garlic has 2–4 long narrow leaves that are round and hollow. The bulb has a yellowish-brown outer membrane with vertical fibers including several bulblets. Wild onion has more than 2 leaves, long and narrow but are flat, solid and slightly convex. The bulbs are brown with a pattern. There are 1–3 bulblets and the cut surface of the bulb will turn red when exposed to air.

The control is the same for both. For small patches pull or dig it out making sure you get all the bulbs and throw away in the trash. The bulbs can survive for several years so DO NOT COMPOST!

In the lawn you can slow the spread of both of these weeds by mowing regularly. It will help weaken the plant and decrease it’s seed production.

A post emergent herbicide can be applied when the weeds are actively growing in the fall, winter and spring. Treat plants when the greens are between 2 and 8 inches tall. In the garden make sure you protect nearby desirable plants when using an herbicide.

Mulching up to a depth of 4 inches has shown some success but that can create other problems in your garden.

Giordano’s can help you select the right Bonide treatment for your problem area!

 

 

How to properly store your Dahlias over winter…

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  • The Dahlia root should be dug up immediately after the frost has killed the foliage.
  • When digging, lift the tubers carefully from the ground so they do not break.
  • Carefully pull the soil away from the roots.
  • Allow the tubers to dry out in a garage or dry basement for a few days.
  • Then cut back the stems to about 4 inches
  • Place them in boxes
  • You can use peat moss or vermiculite as a storing medium for air circulation and separation.
  • Check tubers monthly to make sure there is no mold or rot (discard any infected tubers to prevent spread of disease)
  • If the roots look like they are shriveling you may need to add a little moisture (use a spray bottle)
  • Storing temperature should be between 40-50 degrees F.

It’s time to fertilize your trees, shrubs & perennials

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Late fall is the time to fertilize your trees, scrubs and perennials. When the ground becomes cold your plants will turn dormant. The cold temperatures will allow the nutrients to be held in the soil all winter. They will work their way down deep into the root systems of your plants. As the weather begins to warm in the spring your plants will become active and they will begin to absorb the fertilizer.

We can help you pick out a well balanced organic fertilizer best-suited for your garden!