From the Desk of Ed Hume: Winter Garden Projects

December 27, 2010 at 12:15 AM Leave a comment

Pruning, planting or transplanting, and dormant spraying head the list of projects that may need attention in the garden at this time of year!  Weather permitting, what one can accomplish now will often help cut down on garden maintenance in the weeks and months ahead.  So let’s take a look at some of the most important Winter garden projects:

PLANTING AND TRANSPLANTING: One of the best times of the entire year to move or add plants to the garden is from now up to about mid-March.  These projects are best done whenever temperatures are above freezing.

Plants that have outgrown their planting locations or are simply situated in the wrong spot can be dug and moved into a more suitable spot now and in the weeks to come.  Likewise if you want to add any deciduous trees or shrubs, now during their dormant season is the ideal time to plant them.  This would include fruit, flowering, and shade trees and shrubs.  And to your advantage, this is when the new stock arrives at most nurseries and garden outlets.

As I have discussed before, take time to properly prepare the new planting soil because this is the only time you’ll be able to add organic matter and plant food into the root zone of the plants you are planting or transplanting.  Compost, processed manure (the bagged stuff), coconut fiber, and peat moss are a few of the excellent forms of organic matter.  Mix one or more of them with your existing soil.

PRUNING: If any of your fruit trees need pruning this is the time to do it.  Likewise, flowering and shade trees can be pruned if they need it.  My words to the wise are never prune for the sake of pruning, only prune plants that need to be pruned.  If you think your trees need pruning, I suggest you refer to a pruning book for tips on the best procedures to follow in order to accomplish the task properly.

DORMANT SPRAYING: If you have had insect and/or disease problems with your fruit trees, roses, or other deciduous plants, this would be a good time to apply a dormant spray.   Dormant sprays are applied now to help control over-wintering insect and disease problems.  The Certified Professional Horticulturist or Master Gardener on staff at your local garden outlet can recommend the proper type of dormant spray to use.

WEEDS: Have you noticed the number of weeds that are appearing in this Winter’s garden?  Some of them are even flowering and going to seed now.   On a nice winter day, it would be wise to take a few minutes and pull or cultivate them before they scatter their seeds and really become a nuisance.

LAWNS: Hopefully you have applied a Fall or Winter type of fertilizer to your lawn.  If not, there is still time to fertilize.  This Winter-feeding is important in that it encourages root growth and greening of the turf.

A little time spent in the garden now will help cut down on garden maintenance the rest of this Winter and early Spring.

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