Winterizing the garden

Horticulture Hints

As you are getting your home ready for the Christmas holidays, now is also the time to prepare your landscape for the winter season.

To help trees and shrubs to successfully overcome the stress of winter, it is important to give woody plants a slow, deep watering before the ground becomes frozen. Once soil has become completely frozen, drying winter winds can quickly desiccate moisture from plants, as their roots will no longer able to absorb water.

Tree wraps may now be applied to help prevent deer and rabbit damage to tree trunks to help prevent rubbing and nibbling by hungry critters. If snow may drift higher than wrap height, damage may still occur, so as a precaution, a fencing barrier, such as chicken wire wrap, may be the answer.

Voles and mice damage can also be a winter issue, as their tunneling exposes plant roots to freezing winter temperatures. Eliminate winter shelter for these pests, such as leaving areas of excessive plant or weed foliage, to discourage their presence in the landscape. And although cats are great for vole and mouse control, please keep your felines in the house, as some neighbors may not appreciate their presence in their gardens. Found a kitty a stray? Please locate a local animal shelter for assistance. Cats do not chose to be abandoned, and only through human assistance is it possible from these to become loving members in an appreciative family home.

Did you know? It is not too late to plant bulbs for spring bloom. Spring blooming bulbs, such as tulips, crocus or daffodils still may now be still be planted before the ground becomes completely frozen.

Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu for information or advice.

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