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October 2, 2013

Tim's Tips: Get your plants ready for winter

Another turn of the calendar page means that we are into October. Let me give you a few things to be thinking about doing in your yard.

So far, it has been a dry fall. In the fall, your broadleaf evergreens take up water and store that water in the leaves and twigs. This then allows the plants to lose moisture to the dry winter winds with only minimal damage. Since we haven’t had substantial rain, you should be watering your plants at least once a week to allow them to take up the water that is needed to survive the winter. If we do get some steady rain, you can skip a week, but from now until the ground freezes, you should be watering the rhododendrons, azaleas, boxwood, holly and other broadleaf evergreens.

October is also a good time to apply an anti-desiccant spray to your broadleaf evergreens. This spray puts a waxy coating on the leaves and twigs and will cut down on the moisture lost to winter winds by 30 to 50 percent. This spray comes ready to use, or you can buy a concentrate form if you have a lot of plants to treat.

A customer asked an interesting question the other day, whether it is too late to plant perennials or, for that matter, trees and shrubs. I assured her that fall is an excellent time to plant perennials and trees and shrubs. The soil is still warm, and the cooler days make it easier for plants to get their root system established before winter. By planting in the fall, the plants have both the fall and the early spring to get their root system in place before the heat of the summer. If you have room for plants in your yard, now is a perfect time to put some trees, shrubs or perennials in the ground.

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