The snow is starting to fall. Have you put your garden to bed? You may find there are still a number of things on your to-do list. Below are a few tasks that can still be completed and a few to get you thinking ahead of the holidays.
• Check trees and shrubs for watering needs until the ground freezes.
• Protect evergreens and dwarf conifers planted close to your house from snow that may fall from the roof with caging.
• Use a shade cover or a UV spray on evergreens that get a lot of sun and are not protected with adequate snow coverage.
• Protect deciduous trunks from sunscald with tree wrap.
• Prune crossed branches on cottonwoods, aspens, birch, honey locust, ash and maple trees.
• Fresh, hot, homemade compost can only be added in the fall. By the time spring comes, it will have lost its heat and won't harm new growth on plants.
• After the ground freezes, you can cover your evergreen perennials and less hardy perennials with evergreen boughs to protect from temperature fluctuations, wind and sun.
• For garden beds close to roads, cover with landscape fabric and secure with sod staples. This prevents plant damage and soil toxicity from deicing products and cinders. This should be the last thing you do before the snow falls. If plants are covered too early, they may overheat.
• Start forcing paperwhite bulbs four to six weeks prior to preferred bloom time. The secret to forcing paperwhites is providing as much light as possible.
• Amaryllis bulbs also can be forced for Christmas blooms. They will get a jump start if in a warm place for a short period of time; however, be careful that the pot does not get too hot and crack. Water sparingly until the leaves sprout, and then move the plant where it will get bright light. As the leaves and buds develop, give it more water.
• Prevent drying out by moving houseplants away from heating vents.
• Re-pot any houseplants that need upsizing.
• The growth of houseplants will slow this time of year, so reduce watering and fertilization. Use a moisture meter to determine when to water.
• Get your indoor growing supplies ready for the winter season.
• Keep a lookout for spider mites; they like the dry conditions created from home heaters.
• Feed 'em! Their natural food sources are starting to diminish. Clean your feeders, and stock up on suet and seed. Provide a water source; use a birdbath heater to make it easier.
• Hold onto Halloween pumpkins, squashes and gourds. They make wonderful decorations for your holiday table! If they will not make it to Thanksgiving, use pumpkins and squashes for soups, stews and side dishes.
• Preorder Christmas trees, wreaths, garland and poinsettias to ensure your wish list is fulfilled.
• The holidays can be overwhelming with "to-dos." Schedule some help with your outdoor holiday lightings and Christmas tree set up.
• If you do your own exterior holiday lighting, plan it before snow and ice sets in - it is much safer and easier.
Look for our next article, where we will explain how to select your Christmas tree and how to ensure it will last the length of the holiday.
For more detailed seasonal information, become a member of the Wildflower Farm. You'll receive the members-only monthly newsletter and exclusive discounts.
Wildflower Farm is located in Edwards on U.S. Highway 6. Reach them at 970-926-5504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.