Garden Tips Before the First Major Snowfall
Winter is in the air and its time to put the yard in order before it arrives!
Cedar trees, Alberta Spruce and outdoor azaleas, and rhododendrons should be wrapped over the winter months for extra protection. Use burlap or reemay (not plastic) to protect plants foliage, especially Alberta Spruce and Rhododendrons, which are more susceptible from dehydration and winter burn. The wrap will reflect the sun and prevent moisture loss due to the wind and sun (especially a problem in south facing, windy areas). Covering trees will also help protect the trees from wildlife eating the foliage. Heavy snow loads can bend and break the branches of cedar trees, so wrapping them with burlap will help prevent this or you can wrap the branches with string or rope to keep them intact. Don’t wrap trees until temperatures remain below freezing day and night and remove the wrapping in the spring when temperatures warm up.
Protect tree trunks from rodents by wrapping them with a mouse guard. Mouse guards are easy to use and are available at the garden centres. They are an expandable plastic strip that wraps itself around the trunk of the tree. Start at the base of the tree and wrap the first 1-1.5 meters of trunk.
Newly planted trees or large caliber trees should be staked to protect them from the winter winds. Use a heavy metal 1-1.5 meter stake and place it 10-15 cm distance away from the main stem. Pound it into the ground to a depth of 30-45 cm and then secure the tree to the stake using either rope or jute. Don’t use metal or plastic as this can cut into the tree causing damage.
Hardy roses can have half of their new growth trimmed back in the fall, after a killing frost, then next spring the precise pruning can be done. You can also add some extra mulch such as peat moss, bark, or disease free leaves to the base or crown of the rose will give it extra protection.
Tender roses such as hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, or miniature roses are not hardy for our area, and will need extra protection if you want them to survive our Prince George winter. Cut the stems back to 30-35 cm from the ground as this will make it easier to winterize, because they will need to be covered. A styrofoam rose hut can be placed over the rose or you can create your own protective container by cutting the bottom out of a large pot or bucket and placing it over the rose and then filling it with peat moss, so that the rose is completely covered. In the spring the rose hut or container is removed.
Clean up flowerbeds by removing all the annuals and trim perennials back to 10-15 cm. Newly planted perennials or those that may need some extra protection can be covered with peat moss, or disease free leaves.
Moisture is an important factor for all plants, including perennials, bulbs etc., going into winter. Make sure that the soil is moist before the frost sets into the ground. If the soil is dry, you may need to take out the garden hose or watering can to water those areas such as near buildings or under overhangs where the rain does not reach.
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road ( closed for the season)