Tanya’s 8 must-do’s to winterize your outdoor spaces and gardens:
1. I always ‘hill’ my Roses with topsoil or triple mix to cover and insulate the graft of the plant. You can purchase a rose cone to assist with this process.
2. All my evergreens, particularly Upright Junipers, Emerald Cedar and Columnar Pine get wrapped with Burlap or at least with string to prevent them from splaying open (like a Banana peel) under the weight of a heavy snowfall.
3. My broadleaf evergreens such as Rhododendron, Pieris and Boxwood get wrapped in burlap but I also spray them with an anti-desiccant (Wilt Pruf is my preferred brand. but there are others). Winter winds are brutal on this type of plant so they need a bit of extra care. Think of the fantastic blooms in the spring if you protect plants now.
4. I am an outdoors girl and I love all critters but as cute as they are, Bunnies, Deer and other animals who winter in our neck of the woods, can cause significant damage to ornamental plants. As I have invested a lot of time in our garden I wrap the trunks of fruit bearing trees such as Apples, Crabapple, Pear and Cherry with a spiral tree guard or paper tree wrap. I don’t happen to have any shrubs such as Redbud, Burning Bush, or Euonymus in my landscape but if you do painting or spraying a product such as Skoot will deter the animals from stripping the bark. (No worries, Skoot tastes bad but will not harm the animals).
5. If you haven’t already done it, I recommend you cut back perennials such as Daylily and Hosta in the fall. This will avoid fungus issues in the spring.
6. Even though our lawns went dormant with the summer heat, now is the time to think about your spring lawn. Fall fertilizer should be applied within the next two weeks to ensure the ground is warm enough for the roots to absorb the nutrients. The biggest difference between fall and summer fertilizer is the decrease of nitrogen (the first of the three numbers you see on the bag) and the increase of potash (the last of the three-number sequence). By increasing the potash content, Golfgreen’s Fall Fertilizer has a ratio which puts the emphasis on the overall health and disease resistance of the grass plant. This timed emphasis establishes better root systems and subsequently a healthier turf plant which is more drought resistant and you will have less weeds in your lawn. As a bonus your lawn will be more resistant to lawn insects like White Grub and Chinch bug.
7. My husband Dave takes care of our pond. He puts a monthly dose of Microbe Lift Fall and Winter Maintenance enzymes into the pond to digest the leaves and reduce the sludge layer at the bottom. This is important so the pond does not smell in the spring. He also brings the pump up to bubble just under the surface. Even though we have a fish tank in the house, our pond fish stay put over the winter months. To keep the fish healthy and happy, they need to have a 6” – 8” diameter hole in the ice kept open all winter for gas exchange. Using a de-icer and a Pond Aerator will help with this. If your water feature has no fish, you can leave the pump running all winter long and create some beautiful ice sculptures or remove the pump and store it in a bucket of water where it will not freeze. There is no need to empty the water or remove the tubing!