We got all that snow and I didn’t have my roses winter mulched yet. What should I do?
Winter can be tough on plants with the winds and cold temperatures. But when it snows, although the snow itself is cold, snow is an excellent insulator to protect plants from extreme cold and excessive winds. The amount of protection depends on the depth of the snow. Generally, the temperature below the snow increases about 2 degrees or more for each inch of snow. In addition, the soil gives off heat making the soil surface warmer than the air temperatures. Put those together, with the snow being a blanket, and when the air temperatures drop close to zero, a thick layer of snow could keep the soil surface temperature around 28-29 degrees. In addition to insulating, snow has another plus…it’s made of water! Melting snow provides much needed soil moisture to plants, which helps to prevent winter desiccation injury – especially for those evergreen needles and leaves. And after this very dry summer, we can definitely use more moisture in the ground, as well as many lakes and ponds. So, once the snow melts down (it rarely stays long in our area), then get back out and finish up your winter mulching, protection, etc. Get a day about 45 degrees, you can spray that WiltStop that didn’t get sprayed before the weather got cold!
Should I be feeding my houseplants during the winter?
In general, most foliage plants slow down or stop growing during the winter months, and do not require any feedings. So you can get by a couple months without feeding your plants. But as the days start to get longer when spring arrives, then get back into your regular houseplant feeding routines.
Is now a good time to apply systemic insecticides around the root systems of the outdoor plants to make sure the plants are protected when spring arrives?
NO, do not apply systemic insecticides to outdoor plants now. The ground may be frozen and plants are dormant. Wait until mid to late March, April, even into May, as the soils warm and plants become active again before applying the systemic insecticides to the soil.
Do I apply deer repellents to our landscape now, or just wait until the spring?
Apply repellents now, which not only help provide winter plant protection from the deer, but to start training the deer to keep moving on to the neighbor’s yard! I really like the job DeerScram does, especially over the winter and thru the snow. It’s all natural, and not only works on deer, but works on repelling rabbits as well. DeerScram, Repels All, Liquid Fence, and Milorganite are good. Also, make sure the mulch is not around the base of trees and shrubs. This makes for the perfect location for voles to hide out and chew the bark of the trees and shrubs over the winter. Tree trunk protectors help prevent vole, rabbit and deer damages and can still be placed around the trunks.
I didn’t get a chance to winterize my Knock Out roses. What should I do?
Nothing. That’s one of the many benefits of growing the low maintenance Knock Out roses. They’re winter hardy for our area, don’t need added protection, so just let them be. We’ll look at cutting them back and cleaning them up in late March / early April.
I didn’t get a chance to over seed my lawn this fall, but understand dormant seeding in the winter works. Is there a better time to do this?
Technically, dormant seeding can take place anytime during the winter. The object is to take advantage of the freezing and thawing of the soil. Frozen ground cracks open…thawed ground closes up. This process helps work the grass seed into the soil so it’s ready to grow this spring. But I think the best time for winter dormant seeding is mid to late February.