Time to prepare your plants for the coming winter

How can we help our garden treasures avoid winter kill?

In the heat of mid-summer, sprinklers come on with regularity around the neighbourhoods. Most everyone is concerned and diligent about ensuring their lawns and gardens are hydrated.

However, this particular concern seems to evaporate (along with the water) as the weather cools, leaving plants to fend for themselves as they prepare for a Kootenay winter. Without the necessary moisture, their roots turn toward the surface looking for water and become vulnerable to killing frosts (especially when there is no snow cover).

How can we help our garden treasures avoid winter kill? The solution is simple: keep perennials, shrubs and trees watered deeply for as long as possible during the fall season. A deep water every four days gives just enough time for the surface to dry while the lower ground remains damp, forcing the roots to go down for moisture. I usually water my plants every other day through July. Then come mid-August, I stretch it to every three days; in September it’s every four and by mid October, I’m down to once a week.  Another tip: if shrubs or trees are planted in the lawn, ensure there is a two-foot circle cut out of the turf around the trunk of the plant. Grass is greedy and will rob anything around it of water.

I may sound like a broken record (or CD) on the subject of fall watering but it’s so important to the health of a garden.  We’ve had minimal rainfall in August and September and as I’ve driven around the community it’s been quite apparent that some plants are suffering due to a lack of water. Their foliage has turned colour early and leaves have dropped long before they should.

Besides keeping your garden watered, it’s a good idea to do a final clean-up in the garden by raking up leaves, weeding and cutting back foliage of herbaceous perennials. This will remove hiding places for pests to overwinter. There are always exceptions though and I suggest leaving ornamental grasses as is until spring. If cut back in the fall, the wet snow sits on the cut foliage and rots the roots. Finally, mound the base of roses with peat moss once the ground freezes.

It seems the norm nowadays that time passes way too quickly. Such is the case with the 2012 garden season.  We had a late start because of all the spring rain but the sun no sooner came out than its hidden again amongst the grey clouds rolling in.

Ah well! It was a great year. My new garden gave me great joy as did so many others I visited. And the city baskets and beds put on a spectacular show! Congrats to Trail’s Communities-in-Bloom, especially Bill Garnett, for being one of five cities in the world nominated for best flower beds. What an accomplishment!

Before I go, I’d like to thank my garden partner, Betty Drover, for her contributions to our column and all those who share their passion for plants with me when we meet. Gardening has been such a positive connection to this loving community, for which I’m most grateful.

Have a healthy and safe winter…..

Patty Siddall operates a local garden business and shares this space with business partner Betty Drover. Contact: 250-364-1005

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read