FAQs

How do I prepare my perennials for winter?

How important is it to water in the fall?

Is it important to wrap my trees?

How much should I water my trees?

Should I be pruning my shrubs?

How can I protect my landscape from deer?

How can I get more birds and butterflies in my yard?

How do I prepare my perennials for winter?

Perennials often provide winter interest and texture in the winter landscape. It is best to remove weeds from the perennial garden in the fall. Cut back only the plants that are diseased or have an insect problem because disease and insects may over-winter in this debris and infest the garden the following spring.
Compost or mulch is used to help keep plants insulated from late spring frosts. We recommend putting down winter mulch after the ground freezes, for sensitive perennials, because the perennials will stay dormant longer in the spring. Most native perennials or cultivars of natives do not require winter mulch because they are evolved for this climate. Most perennials that are sensitive are non-natives.

How important is it to water in the fall?

Even though trees and shrubs don’t require as much water as they do in the heat of summer, it is still very important to continue watering new plantings. Applying one inch of rain or irrigated water per week up until the ground freezes is best. Watering should be done at mid-morning to prevent ice build-up if the temperatures drop below freezing at night.

Is it important to wrap my trees?

Wrap smooth-barked and young trees in the fall to minimize damage from sun scald. Sun scald can occur on sunny, cold winter days. The sun warms the tree on the south and southwest sides, causing sap to thaw. When the sun sets or goes behind a cloud or building, the temperature of the bark drops very quickly, causing the sap to refreeze rapidly, which damages the tissue in the area that had warmed up. The bark in this area will eventually slough off, leaving a scar or canker.
Cracks from sun scald can allow insects, fungus, virus, or other damage to gain an entry and begin the process of weakening the tree. As it will take many years to heal a crack, prevention is important.Paper tree wrap or plastic tree guards will minimize sun scald. In late fall, wrap the material around the trunk, starting at the bottom, and fasten securely below the first set of branches. Remove the wrap in the spring, after the last frost. Wrap newly-planted or young trees each fall for two-to-five years, depending on the texture of the bark. Once bark is rough, the tree is mature and will no longer need to be wrapped.
To repair sun scald damage cut the dead bark back to live tissue with a sharp knife, following the general shape of the wound; smooth off any sharp edges to facilitate healing. Wounds will heal faster when they are elliptical in shape, coming to a point at the top and bottom. Do not use a wound dressing on the exposed area unless the wound is on an oak or elm. Spraying with a fungicide may help prevent fungal infection.

How much should I water my trees?

Remember this easy formula: 10 gals/inch/week. Trees requires ten gallons of water, per inch in diameter, per week. The easy way to water trees: five-gallon buckets. Keep watering after they drop their leaves in the fall until the ground freezes in the winter. Pay special attention to young trees and evergreens.

Should I be pruning my shrubs?

Dormant season pruning is a good time to rejuvenate over-grown shrubs. Once all the leaves have dropped, it is easy to see the structure of the shrub and to correct any problems.

Bushy shrubs, like spirea and potentilla, can be pruned down to eight-to-twelve inches. This forces them to re-grow, eliminating the hollow-tops that may develop with age. Thinning out one-third of the largest stems of red or yellow twigged dogwood will force new growth, which has better stem-color than mature stems.
Do not prune early-spring flowering shrubs in the fall. Lilac, old-fashioned bridal wreath, rhododendron, azalea, and forsythia set their flower buds for the next season during the summer. These plants need to be pruned immediately after flowering to avoid removing next year’s blooms.

How can I protect my landscape from deer?

Deer eat just about every kind of plant in the landscape, although they do have their preferences. Repellants do work to deter deer and The University of Minnesota recommends several products. They have been proven effective in repelling deer, however, if the deer are starving, little can be done to prevent damage.

How can I get more birds and butterflies in my yard?

The key to drawing in our feathered friends is growing native plant communities and supplying these animals a full habitat to survive. They need food, water, and shelter just like we do as humans. We as humans are generalists meaning we can survive in many different environments with many different food sources. Many of our treasured native birds and butterflies are not generalists and require very specific diets. For example Monarch caterpillars require Milkweed plants for survival. Homeowners often overlook these delicate relationships that make a ecosystem work, and in-turn use non-native plants with a showier flowers or nicer shape. We can not restore our native fauna without looking at creating ecosystems for them to live in. The relationships are often so complex between our flora and fauna that ecologists and biologists are always discovering new relationships. We have systematically removed our native flora over the last 150 years and we can no longer afford to lose our native species! If you are interested in creating habitat for our native animals please contact us or another native plant contractor or nursery to get started!

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