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Fall Garden Musts, Winter Blooming Plants & More

Preparing Your Roses for Winter

Prune back roses to a “five-leaf” but don’t prune more than 1/3 of the height of the plant. Feed for the last time this year and deep water twice each month until the winter rain starts. Call me for help if needed.

Winter Blooming Plant Profiles

Cyclemen: Tuberous perennials – attractive leaves in basal clumps with pink, white or read flowers. Grows best in loose, leafy-rich compost, out of direct sun with good drainage. Like Iris bulbs the tops of the tubers should not be buried. Keep damn.

Euryops: Evergreen shrug – native to South Africa. Dense, finely divided foliage with yellow daisy-lie flowers to 6 ft. tall. Drought tolerant once established. Hates frost. Prune for shape in June.

Hellebores Niger: Long-lived perennial for shade with greenish white 2 inch flowers. Has long stalked fan shaped leaves about 1.5-2 ft. tall. Likes leafy compost and damp soil.

Fall Soil Care

Spread leafy compost around the base of shrubs and trees in a thick layer and “dig-in” (mix-in) vegetable and annual beds. Active “five” foot growth at this time of year quickly converts nutrients for absorption. Now is a great time to apply a thick layer to retain moisture and lower the soil temperature. Both are necessary for root growth and maintaining a health root-collar. Use up any left-over compost and prepare your 2010  compost area for the upcoming autumn leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps.

Fall Tree Care

Prune out the dead branches and seal any cut over 1 inch in diameter. Larger trees with weak horizontal branches may need to be pruned or supported to prevent breakage during heavy rain and winds. Prune fruit trees for shape.

Fall Planing Tips for Shrubs and Trees

The very best time of the year for any major planting or transplanting is in the fall when the group is wet and there is the distinct probability of more train. For the great San Jose area that would be late October or early November after 3 to 4 hours of steady rain followed by a “dry spell”. The dry spell could be 12 to 24 hours allowing the ground a chance to absorb the liquid and yet remain “murky”. This makes digging large holes easier and gives the new baby roots the conditions they need to adapt to the new soil and location.

Whatever the size of ht container (1-5-15 gallon or 24:-36″ b ox) or root ball, dig the new hole twice as big then fill the bottom with compost or planing mix. After removing the container place the root ball in the center and fill around it with compost or planting mix. Tamp the soil down and make sure the root collar is not buried or any roots are exposed. Make a donut shaped well around the newly planted shrub or tree for use during deep watering. If this is done right before the fall/winter rainy season then Mother Nature will water this transplant properly.  If she doesn’t you must by laying a hose out to the donut well and filling it every day for two weeks, or until it starts raining.


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