If it makes you feel any better, I am a long way from having fall garden chores done. Mother Nature just isn’t cooperating. It’s been either too cold or too wet to get much done and I’m not a particularly wimpy gardener. It seemed like when there was a nice day, I was busy with something else. Oh well, whatever doesn’t get done can wait till spring.
There are many perennials that are still looking good and even a few annuals. Even so, there are a few things that should be done before winter.
If you have problems with deer, rabbits or other critters now is the time to put up defenses.
- The trunks of young trees can be wrapped with trunk wraps to protect them from the nibbling of mice and rabbits and rubbing of deer. You can also use chicken wire cages or hardware wire. Be sure the protection goes high enough so critters don't sit on top of the snow to browse and spread chicken wire over the ground about a foot around the plant so they can’t dig under it.
- If deer are an issue, heavy duty deer mesh works well. For shrubs like taxis and arbs you can just wrap the shrub in the netting or burlap. For other shrubs use stakes to attach the mesh and form a protective circle around the shrub. Remember to make the barrier high enough. Deer can stand on their hind legs to eat.
- Shrub coats and burlap tents are good for protecting from wind damage as well as deer. Basically, you are fortifying your yard for the winter!
If you have any products in an unheated garage like deer spray, Neem oil, liquid fertilizer or anything that would be exposed to freezing temps move them to the basement or other location where they will not freeze. Freezing ruins the effectiveness of some products.
Hoses should be emptied and brought into the garage or basement. Leaving them outside to freeze can cause sections to burst and leak. A handy way to store them is to coil the hose up and tie with twine in 2 places. That prevents the hose from getting all tangled and you can stack or hang them easily. This is easier to do on a warmer day as the hose won’t be as stiff to coil. If it is sunny lay the hose in the sun for a while and it will be more pliable.
Tools should also not be left outside. Clean off tools before you store them as any dirt left on over the winter will cause them to rust or corrode. You can sharpen them now or in the winter when you’re dreaming of spring.
Check stored firewood for insect infestations. Remember not to use or move firewood out of your area to help prevent the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer. It’s illegal to move firewood more than 50 miles in NYS.
If you have a rain barrel, drain it before freezing sets in. A good idea to use the water that’s left is to syphon the water out and use it to water house plants during the winter. I attach a hose to the faucet on the rain barrel and run it from the rain barrel into 2 large, covered garbage totes in the basement. Gravity does the work for you and your houseplants will thank you.
Gifts for gardeners: Lessons from Nature offers gift certificates for Garden Consults or perennials. They are the perfect gift for any gardener. Just contact me for details. I can send the gift certificates to you via email or directly to the person you’re giving it to.
Have a safe and HEALTHY winter!! Lyn Chimera Lessons from Nature 170 Pine St. E. Aurora, NY 14052 firstname.lastname@example.org 652-2432