For most gardeners, the winter months are a time to take it easy, evaluate the past seasons’ triumphs (and failures), and browse through gardening and design magazines in search of ideas to make the upcoming spring a blooming success. But the winter months are a valuable time to accomplish some important tasks in the garden as well. Two important things to remember to do are pruning and watering.
The Perfect Time to Prune
Winter is possibly the best time to prune and trim deciduous trees, especially shade trees. The reason for this? With the leaves on the ground or in the compost pile, the branching structure of the tree is easily viewable and pruning cuts are readily made because leaves don’t impair sight lines and elbow room. The tree is essentially dormant during the freezing temperatures of December, January, and February so work on it is easily accomplished.
A Word of Caution for Flowering Trees: Pruning of ornamental deciduous trees can also be done during this time period, but spring blooming trees will have often already set their flower buds for the spring bloom, so those blooms will be sacrificed if pruned in winter. Flowering trees should generally be pruned in the spring soon after blooming is complete.
Don’t Forget to Water
The other critically important task in the winter garden, especially in the Midwest where fall and early winter days appear to grow drier with each passing year, is supplemental watering. This is of primary importance for evergreens (pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, yew, etc.), broadleaf evergreens (rhododendron, azalea, boxwood, laurel, etc.), and newly planted trees and shrubs of all kinds.
Evergreens continue to grow in the winter despite cold temperatures, especially during sunny, “warm-up” days, and they benefit greatly by having water around their roots readily available. It is definitely a hassle to drag the hose out and get these watering tasks done, but experience has taught those of us in the horticulture industry that it will pay huge rewards in the spring when your azaleas are green and lush and blooming, and your neighbor’s plants are a brown pile of sticks! If you have a heated garage, or unfinished basement area where you can store your hose, it will make the task much easier. And, the good news is, it only needs to be done once or twice a month during those winter days—less if your area benefits from a lot of snow or rain provided by Mother Nature.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy that hot cup of coffee or cuddle up by the fire, but don’t forget to take a few days to think about the plants outdoors and give them a little love too. Check out our blog on your garden dreaming days.
Happy winter garden planning from your friends at Greenleaf Garden Services! Give us a call come spring if we can be of any help – (816) 916-5171.
While there may not be as much rain and the temperature continues to rise, underground moisture keeps plants watered so you can typically still successfully plant garden vegetables and plants in June.
Year after year it’s the same thing. We get calls, questions, and concerns; asking whether or not it’s too late to plant? Did we miss our window? These concerns are appropriate and believe me, nothing is worse than seeing a plant (anything for that matter) die, let alone see all your hard work and time go down the drain.
We like to say it’s never too late to plant if you really want to and are up for the challenge; heck if not outside then indoor plants are becoming more popular and aid in air quality too! While indoor plants are great, I’m more specifically talking about planting your vegetables and ornamental landscape plantings outside.
Underground Moisture Keeps Plants Watered
Yes, the weather is getting warmer and we’re not receiving as much rainfall. While it is hot above ground, the deeper layers of soil are still moist, especially if your beds are properly mulched (if not give us a call). The roots of your plants, if they’re fighters like you, are working to reach these deeper layers of soil while building strength. I guess the best way to explain this would be to provide an example of why it’s NOT too late.
Real-Life June Garden in Pictures
Last year, my (now) wife, two kids, two dogs, and a cat moved into our new home. Along with unloading and unpacking everything, which we are still doing, a requirement was that we have at least one small raised vegetable garden our first year and go from there; we moved into the house at the end of May. The end of June was showing its face and things were beginning to heat up just as they are this year and tend to do. The site was chosen, and it was time to get to work (keep in mind this was still turf area and had never been a garden before).
Constructing a New Garden Bed
We went to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore on Deramus Rd., on June 16, 2016, looking for some heat treated pallets to construct the garden bed and compost bin. We found one large 4’ x 12’ heat treated pallet that was used for the sides, and three smaller pallets which we used to construct the compost bin. Zero waste and super cool! We used the hillside to our advantage to save on material as well as used our moving boxes to suppress existing vegetation…Jilan wanted to keep them, and I said, “No”. Ha ha!
Next, a garden mix of sand, compost, and topsoil was added to level out the area. A family trip to our local Grasspad was now in order and most plants were on sale because it was “so late in the season!”
The garden’s official planting date was June 20, 2016, see photo below:
This was the garden July 26, 2016:
And again August 17 right before harvest:
A Hearty Harvest
The harvest was wonderful! We received several heirloom tomatoes, eight cantaloupe, basil & sage for days, lemon grass which has now been made into bug repellent, chives, which have come back again this year, lemon balm, which we let seed and is now growing everywhere, and two really great pumpkins that we let decompose in the garden bed and now, this year, there are nine pumpkin plants growing in the bed!
Story aside, I believe the photos speak for themselves; if you want to plant then plant.
If you want Greenleaf Garden Services to take the hassle out of planting for you, give us a call at (816) 916-5171. Happy planting and we’re looking forward to our continued service with you!