YOU can help to make the world a better, a more friendly, loving and beautiful place by tending your spot on this earth that has been given to you—your garden. Here is a to do list to help you to do just that…
Tree and Shrub Care
- Major pruning of rhodies and other similar shrubs and trees that will regenerate from latent buds in trunks and stalks after severe pruning (called heading back). Do this before spring growth begins in a couple of months.
- Begin applying systemic insecticides against piercing sucking insects (aphids, lacebugs, weevils, etc.) via soil injections (one treatment gives season-long control). Good News Tree Service is state licensed and qualified to perform this service.
- Aesthetic and structural pruning of large trees. Winter is a great time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs, since the structure or architecture of the plant is clearly visible making aesthetic pruning easier than when plants are foliated. Structural defects, which can cause tree failure, are more easily spotted as well. Also remove of dead wood, and pruning to reduce hazards. If you’re not sure what to do, or how to do it, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a consultation, pruning lessons or to have them do the pruning for you.
- Tree and shrub removal and stump grinding can be done all year long.
- Fruit trees. Begin applying dormant spray oils against insects and fungi. Prune your fruit trees for fruit production. You can also begin pruning grapes, can and trailing berries once the threat of major frost is past.
- Prune roses. The best time to do this is after the threat of major frost is past.
- Large deciduous trees. Have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches. This is best done when the leaves are off the trees.
- All large trees. After each major weather event, check your trees for damage such as broken or hanging limbs. If you have concerns or questions about your trees, have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for damage or the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches.
- Storm proof your larger trees. Checking your trees for hazards and then take the appropriate measures to protect your trees from storm damage. If you’re not sure about the condition of your trees or even what to look for, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a free on-site consultation.
- Plant or transplant trees and shrubs. After the cold, seasonal rains have started is a good time to plant or transplant ornamental trees and shrubs. Cooler weather means less transplant shock to the plants, and over the winter and spring, they will have time to begin to acclimate to their new environment before the stress of the next summer season occurs.
- Prune coast/shore pines (Pinus contorta) and Scotch/Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris). These two pines are especially susceptible to the sequoia pitch moth whose larvae burrow into the tree trunks during the growing season (April through September) causing the trees to exude large amounts of unsightly pitch globules. While this seldom kills the tree, the bleeding of sap is not good for the overall health and vigor of the tree. It is advisable, therefore, not to prune these pine trees during the growing season, since the pruning cuts attract the moth, which then lays eggs on the tree, which hatch into tree-burrowing larvae. Pruning should be done on your pines from November to March.
- Photonia leaf spot. Spray a fungicide early in February of four applications at two week intervals. Early spray is key to controlling this fungus.
Elsewhere in the Garden
- Put slug bait around winter flowers. Though the weather may be cold, slugs are still active.
- Plant fruit trees.
- Rake and dispose of ornamental tree leaves, or better yet, compost them and then spread the decomposed leaves back onto your shrub beds as a mulch next year.
- Mulch your shrub beds. Put a two to three inches of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) around perennials and other plants that might be sensitive to subfreezing weather. Also, spread a fresh layer of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) on all the bare dirt areas in your yard to prevent soil compaction from rains, to prevent weed growth and to enrich and help to condition your heavy clay soils.
- Cut English ivy off of the base of trees. (This can be done any time of the year.)
- Feed the birds. Dutifully maintain your bird feeders. As winter comes, birds have a harder time finding food. Bring life and excitement to your backyard by turning it into a bird sanctuary. The birds will thank you for your generosity by providing you with hours of entertainment, and by eating insect pests that harm your ornamental trees and shrubs. Remember to feed the humming birds, who have few flowers to feed on during the winter. Birds in the yard are not only fun to watch, but they perform the vital task of eating harmful insects.
- Fertilize yellowing lawns.