It’s October! Time to Zip up and Wet your Plants!

If you’re looking for something to do during half time of the football game, you can give your landscape a good swift kick in the plants with a couple of simple tasks. First remember that as your trees are turning color and activity above ground is slowing down, the root system below ground level will stay active in warm soil. Even though air temperatures are cooling off and days are getting shorter, the roots can absorb nutrients and grow because the soil temperature is warm well into November. You can “zip up your plants!” October is a good time to feed deciduous trees with a complete fertilizer as they are going to sleep for winter. Important note: I said “deciduous trees” (trees that lose their leaves in winter) not evergreens because you want evergreens to harden off for winter and don’t want to encourage top growth. Fertilize the evergreens in April and May next year. By feeding deciduous trees now you’ll have healthier vigorous growing trees next spring when the air temperatures finally warm again. Secondly, if halftime isn’t over yet, take a bottle of anti-dessicant spray like Wilt Stop or Wilt Pruf and spray your broadleaf evergreens like Azaleas, Hollies and Rhododendrons. “Wet your plants!” When the ground freezes in winter and the sun shines and wind blows, they’ll have a protective coating to hold in moisture because they don’t drop their leaves like the deciduous trees. The coating of anti-dessicant spray will help keep them from turning toasty brown in winter. Some people will put up burlap screens which helps but they are unsightly and have to be securely staked to hold up to wind gusts. I still believe that when “push comes to shovel” the North or East sides of the house are the best for broadleaf evergreens providing structural protection in winter. There you have it, two simple half time tasks, (hope your favorite team wins), take the time to do it and you won’t be operating by the seat of your plants next spring! Watch my short You Tube clipping on the subject right here!