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Fall Checklist
Posted on: September 7, 2017

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.
georgina garden centre gardening tips

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 stuff too, reducing needle drop and fire hazard.
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Covering Roses

Cut your roses back approximately1/3 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. 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. Again, 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 mould and brown-out.
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.
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 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.
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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 of leaves and blood meal.
planting bulbs georgina garden centre gardening tips

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.

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