Evergreens, both broadleaf and needled, will lose water through their leaves during the winter. When the soil is frozen or dry*, it is harder for the plant to replace this water by uptake through the roots. The result can be winter damage to leaves and even whole branches. Spraying your evergreens with an anti-desiccant like Bonide Wilt Stop will protect them from winter injury by forming a soft, clear flexible film over the leaves.
In colder areas, the more tender broadleaf evergreens like Camellias and some varieties of boxwood and hollies should be sprayed with Wilt Stop and then carefully wrapped in burlap for additional protection.
* If you haven't had a good soaking rain in your area, give your trees and shrubs a deep and thorough watering before the ground freezes.
Protect large roses by tipping back any long canes that might be whipped around by the wind. This minor pruning can also protect them from breakage due to a build up of ice or snow. Don't do any major pruning now - wait until danger of cold weather has passed in the spring to do that. For extra protection from desiccating winds, spray the canes with Bonide Wilt Stop.
As autumn gives way to winter, the supply of food for the deer in your "neighborhood" begins to diminish. Pretty soon, even the thorny stems of your roses are going to look good to them, not to mention the delicious branches of your fruit trees! There are many products on the market now that claim to keep deer out of your gardens. The Viettes have been testing many of these products over the years and have come up with a few recommendations.
- Our most important advice is to alternate repellents through the season. Deer will eventually become accustomed to most repellents and when they do, that repellent will no longer be effective. To keep hungry deer at bay, switch to a different repellent every 4 weeks or so.
- Click for a list of proven repellents that have worked well for us and for many of our garden center customers.
- If deer are a constant problem where you live, fencing is another option you may want to explore. DeerBusters deer fencing is virtually invisible and keeps deer out of your landscaping "without changing the appearance of your property".
Both pine voles (Microtus pinetorum) and meadow voles (Mictotus pennsylvanicus) are responsible for winter damage to trees and shrubs. Pine voles are especially fond of root tissue and over a winter can chew and destroy the entire root system of a small tree. Meadow voles prefer feeding on the bark at or near ground level often girdling the tree and causing it to decline and eventually die.
- Heavy grass cover and thick layers of hardwood mulch provide excellent cover for voles. If you have had problems with vole damage, keep the grass mowed around trees, especially fruit trees, and keep mulch away from the base of the tree. Stone mulches tend to discourage voles from tunneling and tend reduce vole damage.
- Bonide MoleMax Mole and Vole Repellent granules or ready-to-use spray can be helpful for keeping voles out of the garden and away from your trees and shrubs.
- Place tree guards made from 1/4" hardware cloth or plastic tubes around the trunk to protect it from meadow vole damage. If possible, sink them into the ground a few inches but be careful not to damage the roots.The green tubes you see neat rows of in many fields are there to protect saplings from vole damage. When set-up correctly they go several inches into the ground and prevent voles from reaching the tender trunks.
- Mulch around your trees with a layer of Espoma Soil Perfector. When planting, you can also line the hole with a protective layer of Soil Perfector or mix it in with your soil when you back-fill the hole. Click for more information.