Dormant pruning can occur from November through April, so we will be completing some of these tasks on plants that have lost their leaves (deciduous) when weather conditions permit. This is the prime time to prune apple orchards or any fruit tree, dogwoods, Japanese maples, and viburnums with densely structured branches. Below 20 degrees, we do not prune, as branches and twigs are brittle when handled.
Deer browsing on evergreens can be counteracted with our deer repellent spray and deer fencing options in high traffic areas. Remember that the enzymes in a deer’s stomach change with the seasons, and they are able to digest woody plants in winter. We also attach garlic clips to the tips of tender deciduous twigs of witch hazel and hydrangeas such as oak leaf and lacecap types that bloom on old wood, as these can also serve as winter browse for deer.
Anti-desiccant spray, consisting mainly of pine sap, is a good protectant for broadleaf evergreens that are prone to burn in late winter sun and harsh winter winds. This is applied now on a clear day without wind. Reese and Roy will be making their rounds to spray in the near future.
Once the ground has frozen for good, and not before, we will do the following:
- Lay down evergreen boughs and/or pine needles over lavender, heaths, heathers and strawberry plants to provide a layer of winter protection
- Mound fresh compost over the root systems of marginally hardy roses, including David Austin and hybrid tea types
- Spread salt marsh hay to protect exposed perennial beds and strawberry patches
- Wrap exposed broadleaf evergreens such as boxwoods in burlap
- Set up cedar shrub protectors to protect foundation plantings from falling ice and snow
Many years, we have extended periods of extreme cold and lack snow cover to provide a protective layer. These strategies help the vulnerable plants listed above to survive these potentially difficult times. Should we luck out with complete snow cover all winter, your protected plants will still be fine under the additional layers. We wait for frozen ground to apply the extra layers in order to prevent voles, moles and mice from setting up winter habitations in the plants!