2017-11-08 / Columns

Garden Scene with Peggy Bolton

Seasonal Change

With fall temperatures cooling and rain in the forecasts, pest problems also begin to surface. One must be vigilant to observe their landscape for damage.

Now is the time to start thinking about winter protection for trees, shrubs, and borderline -hardy plants. First, weed around the crown of plants. Make sure there is bare soil between fruit tree trunks and the grass line. Do not chip closer than one foot around the trunk, as borers move wood to wood. Use plastic tree guards to protect young trunks from rodent and rabbit damage. These guards spiral around the trunk and should be pushed into the soil. If deer are a problem, young trees and susceptible shrubs must be fenced. Use three posts around the tree and tall chicken wire to keep deer at bay. Check around the base of planting for mole holes. New activity is often a sign that mice have moved into the holes. Rodents can easily girdle tree and shrub roots causing plants to die. Disturb these areas as much as possible. If persistent, holes may be treated with over-the-counter remedies. Be careful of any poison, as pets are usually attracted to the smells.

Most perennial have been cut off and the tops composted. Pulling and composting annuals will save work in the spring. Planters may be filled with evergreen boughs for the winter.

Heap aged wood chips or aged compost over the crown of rose bushes and marginally-hardy perennials. Also, chip blueberry bushes heavily to help keep moisture in and perennial weeds out.

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