It’s November, so here are some things you can do around you lawn and garden to get ready for winter.
• Lawn and turf: Fertilize cool-season grasses like fescue with 1 pound nitrogen per 1,000 feet; continue to mow fescue as needed at 2 inches and water during dry conditions; control broadleaf winter weeds like dandelions (HLA-6601); and keep falling leaves off fescue to avoid foliage damage.
• Tree and shrubs: Prune deciduous trees in early part of winter. Prune only for structural and safety purposes. Wrap young, thin-barked trees with a commercial protective material to prevent winter sunscald. Apply dormant oil for scale-infested trees and shrubs before temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Follow label directions. Continue to plant balled and burlapped and containerized trees. Watch for arborvitae aphids, which tolerate cooler temperatures in evergreen shrubs.
• Flowers: Tulips still can be successfully planted through the middle of November. Leave foliage on asparagus, mums and other perennials to help insulate crowns from harsh winter conditions. Bulbs like hyacinth, narcissus and tulip can be potted in containers for indoor forcing.
• Fruits and nuts: Delay pruning fruit trees until next February or March before bud break. Harvest pecans and walnuts immediately to eliminate deterioration of the kernel.
• Protecting young trees: Trunks of some newly planted trees, especially those with green trunks or thin-bark, require protection from direct sunlight during all seasons. They are susceptible to sunscald (blistering and cracking of the bark) during winter months when leaves are absent. Protect the trunk with a commercial tree wrap, such as polyurethane spiral wrap or paper (kraft) wrap. The wrap should be applied in the fall, but should be removed prior to trunk expansion each spring.
The most commonly reported damage from trunk protective wraps is trunk girdling or constriction because the wrap was too tight or left on too long. Generally, a tree will only need to be wrapped the first season or two after planting.
Tie the wrap firmly, but not tightly. Polyurethane wraps expand without binding the trunk. Start at the ground and wrap up to the first branch slightly overlapping as you go. Do not attach wraps with wire, nylon rope, plastic ties or electrical tape.
Protect young trees and shrubs from animal damage. Polyurethane wrap, wire mesh collars or rodent repellent paint can be used. Holly, honey locust, elm and fruit trees are particularly susceptible. Remember snow will change the height of the bite.
• Miscellaneous: Leftover garden seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until next planting season. Discard seeds more than 3 years old. Gather and shred leaves. Add to compost, use as mulch or till into garden plots. Clean and store garden and landscape tools. Coat with a light application of oil to prevent rusting. Drain fuel tanks, irrigations lines and hoses. Bring hoses indoors.
For more information on protecting landscape plants during the winter see OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6404 Winter Protection for Landscape Plants.
Castor is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.