Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Last of the Season Chores

Hello fellow readers,

As requested, here’s some last of the season gardening to-dos. Protect your outside pots. Most concrete, glazed or terracotta pots, with or without plants, will crack if left out in the winter; with the exception of the high-priced ones made to withstand freezing. Generally fiberglass, polyethylene, or structural foam pots can remain outside. However, even plants that are suitable in our zone will suffer from the freezing and thawing of roots if left unprotected.

You can plant the pots themselves (if freeze tolerant) in a holding spot dug in soil to the top of the pot. Or gather them against the north or east side of your home and cover with a foot of shredded leaves. Containers moved into an unheated building such as a garage or shed where temperatures remain slightly above freezing is ideal. Potted herbs such as parsley and chives can be brought indoors for winter use.

Here’s a to-do that doesn’t requiring doing: Don’t cutback seed heads of perennials, biennials and annuals that you want to self-sow; or spread the seeds in the garden before removing the plant remains. I think bird-friendly seed heads are showy; especially Ornamental Grasses, Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans.

Time to prevent transpiration – the loss of water from plant parts particularly leaves. When plants are unable to replenish the water due to frozen soil or drought, dehydration and damage can occur. Last year’s winter wreaked havoc on evergreens. Combined with this year’s dry growing season, they are exceptionally vulnerable. Deeply water plants before the ground freezes, and continue to water during winter months when above freezing if Mother Nature doesn’t provide. You can create physical windbreaks with stakes and burlap; or spray Wilt-Pruf which is a natural resin derived from pine trees. Let that dry then apply a systemic Deer Spray such as Deer Out as well. A double whammy of protection!

dying rhododendron LR

Without Wilt Pruf

With Wilt Pruf

With Wilt Pruf

It’s a wrap! For this growing season that is. Planning for next season is now unwrapping. Seems to me a Santa Wish List is in order?

Garden dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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