Tag Archives: fall maintenance

Fall Checklist

Fall Checklist

Wrapping Evergreens

Yews and Alberta Spruce are the most susceptible to winter wind and sun burn. It is, therefore, advisable to keep these plants wrapped with burlap from top to bottom, beginning in the late fall. Never use plastic as a wrap – even in the winter months plants must be able to “breathe.” Evergreens should be well-watered before the severe ground frost of mid-December to guard against desiccation (drying-out) caused by cold winter winds.

Wrap burlap around cedars and evergreens that are exposed to wind. Again, a reminder, the last 2 winters have been quite the winters where plant damage was concerned.
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Two layers of burlap around all evergreens will help to prevent snow damage (from the weight of snow), salt spray (from the melted snow on a nearby road, especially on the east side of the road) and sun scald in late winter (when the sun reflects off a clean, white layer of snow onto evergreen foliage).
wrapping evergreens with burlap wrapping evergreens with burlap for winter
Upright evergreens, such as Junipers and Cedars suffer the most damage from the weight of snow on their branches. This will not usually kill the plant, but can make it unsightly the following year. The best protection is to cover the juniper with netting. Apply in late fall and leave on the plant until the threat of snow has passed in early spring.
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Tender Trees & Shrubs

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

These plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Be sure to cover the root area with up to eight inches of mulch. Then build a shelter around each plant with burlap and stakes to keep out the wind and the sun. Make sure the soil around the plants is moist going into the freeze, the more moisture available to them over the winter, the better.
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Japanese Maples, Magnolias, Eastern Redbuds & Peach Trees

Similar to Rhododendrons & Azaleas, these plants are very susceptible to wind, sun and snow damage through the winter months, especially if they have been planted in an unprotected location. Build a shelter around each plant with burlap and stakes to keep out the wind and the sun. Be sure to water really well going into the winter freeze – keep watering until the ground freezes.
eastern redbud

Wilt-Pruf

This is liquid magic on boxwood, yews, cedars, euonymus, rhododendrons and other evergreens that are exposed to wind and road-salt-spray.
Wilt-Pruf is an ‘anti-desiccant’ that provides an invisible layer of protection to all broad-leaved evergreens through winter. The humidity in our winter air drops to less than 10% some days, causing the moisture in the foliage of tender evergreens to evaporate. The result is browning in the extreme.
AND…your Christmas tree will benefit from an application of this too, reducing needle drop and fire hazard.
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Covering Roses

Cut your roses back approximately 1/3 by removing all frozen buds after the first heavy frost. Remove all leaves as much as possible and dust the lower branches with a general fungicide. Using a rose collar, build fresh garden soil 2′ high around each rose bush – cover as much of the rose as possible. Do not use manure, peat moss or other material high in organic matter (ie, compost, straw, leaves etc.).
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Climbing Roses

Climbing roses should be pruned only very slightly in the fall by removing the frozen buds and tips of the most tender growth. The branches of climbing roses should be tied together and wrapped in burlap. Never use plastic. Build up soil around the roots the same as for other roses.

Lawns

Feed your lawn. The most important application of the year occurs in the fall, but only when you apply it. Fall fertilizing helps to strengthen your lawn and the lawn’s roots, providing stamina to help it survive the long winter. If you haven’t done it, it is not too late. Fall is also a great time to overseed. Come spring your lawn will thank you by greening up quickly with much greater resistance to snow mold and brown-out. You can read more about topdressing and overseeding here on our blog
The last mowing should be done very close to the ground and the clippings raked away. This will prevent fungal diseases from destroying grass roots over the winter.
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Watering

Water, Water, Water! It is very important to continue to water until the ground freezes. Plants need moisture in the ground to get them through the winter.  If we have a long winter like we have had for the past 2 years, plants rely on the moisture to keep their leaves from drying out too much (winter injury and burn will be much worse on dry plants).

Hedge Trimming

Now is the time to trim your hedges and evergreens. You want to finish trimming your evergreens before it freezes as it could cause injury to the foliage. If you don’t want to trim your evergreens and hedges, or you can’t – we can! Fill out our online request form to request a free quote!
shrubs cedar emerald georgina garden centre gardening tips

Trees

If you don’t have plastic spiral collars on your trees, put them on now! These quick, simple, economical little guys will save your trees from rodent and animal damage. Put them on all your trees – Japanese Maples, fruit trees, shade trees etc. You’ll be thankful in the spring that you did this!
plastic spiral tree wrap guard

Leaves

Leaves are garden gold. Spread small leaves of trees, such as locust, birch, beech, serviceberry and silver maple (or shredded larger leaves), over all exposed soil. They will degrade into mineral nutrients and worms will turn them into fertilizer.
fall leaves

Planting Bulbs

Squirrels “read” the disturbed soil and marks you leave when planting their favourite tulips and crocuses. Outwit them by concentrating spring bulb plantings in large groups and disguising your marks by flooding the soil surface with water. Then cover them with 5cm (2 inches) of leaves and blood meal.  You can also cover sections of bulbs with chicken wire – the bulbs can grow through it, but squirrels can’t relocate them on you.
planting bulbs georgina garden centre features spring bulbs

Overwintering Plants

If you would like to overwinter any tropicals indoors be sure to bring them in before it gets too cold (anything under 10 degrees Celsius). Be sure to spray them with an insecticide to kill any pests that are hiding, and trim the plant back. Keep in a bright room, keep it from drying out (you want the top inch of soil to be dry before you water it again) and fertilize once a month. Most plants will defoliate because you have moved them into a different climate but they will push out new leaves again once it is acclimatized to your home.

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Topdressing and Overseeding Your Lawn

Topdressing, Overseeding & Fertilizing your Lawn in the Fall

It is ideal to topdress (spread soil) your lawn once a year. If you topdressed in the spring, than just overseed and fertilize at this time of year (the fall).

Even if your lawn is looking healthy and green, still topdress, seed and fertilize – don’t wait until it stops looking great before you follow the steps below.  By keeping up on your lawn every year, you’ll have less weeds, disease and insects invade – and less stress! If it all seems like too much, just overseed – overseed, overseed, overseed! I know some people that overseed every month and their lawn is nice and thick and healthy.

Below we have listed the easy steps to topdress, seed and fertilize your lawn.

  1. Rake lawn with either hard rake or fan rake and discard dead grass to compost – if lawn is long – cut grass to 1” high (this makes topdressing easier)
  2. Topdress lawn with soil, spreading it out no more than ¼” deep over existing lawn area
  3. Spread seed evenly over lawn (be sure to keep it out of the gardens)
  4. Fertilize lawn with an organic fertilizer (use a spreader, do not spread by hand)
  5. Water entire area in each section for 20 minutes. Keep area moist but not soaking until seed has germinated (likely 6-10 days depending on the weather and your watering practices)
  6. You might have to seed some areas you missed after germination has occurred
  7. When cutting your lawn – wait until the grass has grown 6″ and set the mower to its highest setting and keep it there all season long to encourage deep rooting of your lawn.

Watch our quick video below for a how-to on topdressing and overseeding – sorry about the vehicle noise and the agitated Mike – this is why we keep him out of the greenhouse and off the cash registers!!

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Planting, Transplanting and Dividing

Planting, Transplanting and Dividing

When planting, transplanting or dividing plants it is vital to use a transplant fertilizer. We use Acti-sol Transplater 4-10-2. It is made of pure hen manure and bone meal.  It is ideal for planting and transplanting all types of plants as the hen manure acts rapidly to stimulate root development and the bone meal breaks down slowly for medium and long term action. A plant will not push any crown growth until it is firmly established.

Planting

You can plant at any time of the year, as long as you can dig a hole (so you can’t plant when the ground is frozen).  The most important thing about planting is watering – and not just watering once…water, water, water – water lots especially during the plant’s first year.  Trees need up to 15 gallons (that’s 57 litres) of water a week, shrubs need up to 10 gallons (that’s 38 litres) a week.  The easiest way to water is taking a 5 gallon pail, drill a couple of holes in the bottom, set it beside the plant you are watering, and fill it up – it will slowly empty, giving the plant a nice deep water.  Repeat this a few times a week depending on how much water your plant needs.

This is a great video on how to water using the bucket method.

Also, keep watering your plants until the ground freezes. Plants need nice moist roots going into the long dry winter.

Transplanting

Transplanting plants is a little different than planting potted plants. When transplanting, for the most part, we do not want to move the plant while it is in bloom or during it’s growth time. Move the plant either really early spring or late fall (depending on it’s blooming and active growth time). It is expected that there will be some root loss and damage when moving a plant so plants moved in the heat of summer is discouraged. Damaged roots will not always be able to absorb sufficient water for the whole plant so cutting back the tops is sometimes necessary to keep it hydrated and cool – if possible try to move the plants in cooler wetter weather.

Transplanting offers the ability to redesign your gardens without having to buy any new product. A fresh new look, accentuating different plants and bringing attention to some of your more hidden specimens at a moments notice keeps your yard looking fresh and new.

Dividing Perennials 

As a rule of thumb divide and move perennials in the cooler weather and remember: spring bloomers in the fall and fall bloomers in the spring.

Dividing perennials is a rewarding though finicky gardening adventure. Dividing plants is a great way to scale back some of the more vigorous growers keeping your garden from looking overgrown and unkempt. It is good for controlling plant growth, smaller plants are most often more vigorous bloomers than their larger leafier selves. When managing our gardens that is our goal, emphasis plant blooming and manage our space. When using a spade to separate clusters use rubbing alcohol to clean the spades cutting edge to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Below is a great article on dividing perennials: when, which ones and how. Check it out!

http://www.finegardening.com/10-tips-dividing-perennial-plants

Check out our video on dividing hostas – the general concept of dividing hostas can be used on many other perennials as well.

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Hedge Trimming

Hedge Trimming

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There are many different varieties of hedge but the theory remains the same. Establish your shapes and contours early on in the hedges development and maintain these same designs through its lifetime.

The majority of hedges in our area (Georgina) are cedar. Other traditional hedge types include:

  • Cedar
  • Boxwood
  • Yew
  • Flowering
  • Large Evergreens

When setting up your hedge there are a few things to keep in mind. Its better to take too little off when cutting as you can’t put it back on and cutting too deeply and gouging into the wood will create undesirable brown spots. It is better to round out the top of your hedge then to make it perfectly flat as this will help it shed snow avoiding potential shearing and broken branches.

It is imperative that the bottom of the hedge is thicker in width than the top and tapers upwards, never the other way. While your hedge can be shaped in very artistic ways it is still a living thing and has requirements, especially in terms of sunlight. A well shaped hedge allows sunlight to hit the entirety of its surface as such tapering the hedge top down is very important.

The rule of thumb is to cut twice. Cut the hedge in a way that takes off the most vigorous growth then take a rake and gently bang out the cut pieces, going up and down the hedge across its entire length. These bits will brown up in time and make your hedge look unkempt and disorderly. Following the first cut you will see a notable difference in how tight the hedge looks. To help picture what we mean by tightness consider it like given your hedge a haircut. Were looking for a neat buzz cut not a shaggy unkempt look. With a careful second cut we can safely carve this down a little bit further making the hedge tighter again still. This second cut is the stage that gives the hedge its clean crisp and professional look.

Note: hedges should be trimmed at least once a year any time after July but before freeing temperatures. Leaving the hedges for a year will leave you with a less dense product when you are finished as the plants production goes to its leaders rather than its side. Talk to Georgina Garden Centre about best practices if you desire to change the shape of your hedge.

Use string lines when setting the initial shape of the hedge to ensure its lines are straight and linear.

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