| by Kenneth Chase | No comments

Ornamentals and Trees in the Winter – Family Plot


Alright Joellen, what
do we need to know about ornamentals and trees
in the fall and the winter? – All sorts of things going
on in the next few months. Number one thing of course is
leaves, leaves are everywhere. And interestingly enough, the reason why we
get nice fall color is because the leaves all have
those pigments all year long, but Chlorophyll is
masking their color. So either day length
and temperature are two triggers for the
trees, saying you know, you’ve stored up enough
carbohydrates this year in your root system, so it’s
time to lose the leaves. So the Chlorophyll dies and
then we have the pretty colors, and then they fall
off the trees. – Yeah, beautiful colors, yeah. – The falling off the
trees is our problem because they get everywhere. And if you can at all possible, try to use your
leaves for mulch. Mulching your beds with them
instead of buying mulch, you’ve got ready-made
mulch already. But one thing is you wanna
keep the leaves off the lawn, because when you think about it, trees, when they lose
their leaves in the forest, they mulch themselves, but they don’t have
any lawns in forests. So you know, we
don’t want the leaves on top of the lawns to
decompose our grass, ’cause we’re trying to
get grass to grow there. So we have to collect the
leaves off of the grass, so you can blow them off, but if you have large
quantities of them it’s nice to get them
and compost them. You can do several
things with them. Like Tom, I put
mine in my garden. And it’s great mulch
and great composting, but some people have
composting bins, you can put them in there, and some people say
well I have too much. Well try mulching mowers, and
mulch ’em in place if you can. You know, because this
is one thing that happens is it changes the
structure of the ground. It puts organic matter down
there that worms can grow, so then you’re gonna increase
the porosity of your soils so then when it rains and
there’s runoff from your rain, from your roof and
everything else, there is more area
to absorb them before it runs off
of your property, so it keeps all your
water on your own property and you don’t contribute
to water runoff. So it’s always a good thing to keep as many leaves
as you possibly can. But of course that’s
gonna be something that you can work
on for a long time, ’cause it takes a long time for all the leaves to fall
off in the winter, it does. You know, there’s
another thing you can do, it’s called lasagna gardening. And I know it’s not exactly
the best time of year to do it but you can put cardboard
down in even a grassy area, doesn’t matter if you
wanna make a new bed, and then you layer it with
leaves and then, you know, the frost is gonna come
and all of the basils and the annual flowers that
you had need to be pulled up. Well that can be your green in
between the layers of leaves. And you can build up a nice bed, and it would be ready
to plant in the spring. So you can do that with ’em too. Now since we’re
talkin’ about trees, we gotta remember
about young trees, and especially
thin-skinned bark trees. Sunscald is a really bad problem because what happens in the
winter is it’s nice and warm, and hot, and sunny
during the day. The bark warms up, and then
at night the temperatures sometimes fall really low,
and then that causes the bark on the sides of
that tree to crack. And sunscald cracks take
years for trees to overcome, and sometimes they never do. So if you can wrap your trees,
especially your small trees, and thin-skin barked trees, it would be good to buy
some tree wrap for it. It’s usually white or an
off-white color of some kind. And if you don’t have that,
how about an old sheet? You put it to strips
and just put it around the base of the tree to
help keep the sunscald from happening to
your small trees. Also critters. – Hmm, yes. – You don’t wanna pile up mulch around the base of any
large shrubs or trees, because voles especially
are notorious, mice, they will burrow in
that nice mulch that you have and then oh, here’s a food
source and start nibbling on the base of your
trees and shrubs. So you don’t wanna put a lot
of thick mulch around that. But I mean some
loose leaves is nice if you think it
needs it, but yeah. That’s one thing
you can keep away. Plus some people have problem
with deer and rabbits, and you need a physical
barrier for that. Either some wire fencing
or some plastic fencing, whatever you can put around it to physically barrier
the animals away, keep them away from your
trees and your special shrubs. – Yeah, that’s a good point. – So that’s gonna be something. Also, November and
December is the best time to plant bulbs for
spring blooming flowers. Daffodils are especially, get
your most money for daffodils, ’cause they will come back
every year almost reliably. Tulips and some of the others
will come back sporadically, but they all are a great,
nice, spring burst of color. And highly recommend going ahead and putting some in the
ground around your house, or in containers, and
enjoying the bloom that they have in the spring. – I would agree, you
can’t go wrong with those, can’t go wrong with ’em. – You gotta give ’em
January and February to be able to get enough
strength to, you know, make roots and break shoots, so you really need to be in
the ground before December, I mean before January. Let’s see, mulch of course. You know, that’s why I
say a nice layer of mulch, ’cause you want a layer of
mulch that acts like a blanket for around the roots of
all the trees and shrubs. They like to have that, it
keeps the temperature more even when the temperature outside
isn’t always nice and even. Sunny in the daytime, warmer,
then goes down cold at night. But the layer of mulch, no matter what kind
of material it is, will help keep that more even. Perennials, great time to
divide and plant perennials. In fact it’s a great time, fall is the best time of
year to plant any kinda plant because our ground
here doesn’t freeze. So it’s the best
time to go ahead and incorporate those trees
and shrubs, perennials, in your landscape and they’ll
be set for the spring. – Makes sense. – Pruning, oh, February is
when I usually start thinkin’ about pruning, because the
leaves are gone from the trees, you can see branching patterns and you can correct
things that are wrong, like crossing branches
and maybe crossed angles that are too narrow. And also crape myrtles,
it’s the best time of year to start pruning crape myrtles. And monkey grass
or the liriopes, it’s time to cut those down
and discard the leaves, because a lot of times you
get rust on the leaves, and spots on the leaves,
and that’s a disease. So if you cut ’em off the old
growth, discard all of that, you will help get rid of some of your disease problems
on your liriope. – Right, you could do that with
the lawnmower or weed eater. – Either one. And protection, now sometimes, I have camellias and I
have some lorapetalum, and it gets cold sometimes. And I wanna protect those blooms and those tender perennials. I’ve got a gardenia
now so I wanna see how it does in the winter. But even though it’s
a hearty gardenia, we get some single-digit
temperatures around here which is more zone six and five than it is us and here in seven. So protecting them is good. Always keep around some plastic, large pieces of plastic
and some extra sheets. And what I usually do, ’cause
plastic is usually clear. I mean if you can get black
plastic that’s nice too, but clear plastic will do
and that’s more available. And you put a sheet
over the plant and then put the
plastic over that so if you don’t happen
to get the plastic off ’cause you have to go
to work the next day, and it’s gonna heat up that day, you don’t get the greenhouse
effect underneath there. So that’s to protect
it from doing that and getting too hot
underneath the plastic. – Now does the sheet
need to be supported? – It would be nice if you can. If you can’t, at least something
is better than nothing. But the most important
thing is for the plastic to go ground to ground,
to ground to ground, because that’s where the air
heat gets trapped in at night. But those are just some of
the things that you can do to get yourself through
the winter and into spring. – Those are some good things, thank you Ms. Joellen,
that’s good stuff.

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