Get the plants ready for winter


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – You’ll hear shovels hitting dirt and pruners snipping across the valley as gardeners ready their plants for winter.

While pruning is healthy for some plants now, you might want to avoid pruning some. Especially those considered second-year growth according to Apple House Co-owner Ryan Cummins.

“Second-year growth is all that growth that occurs this year, the first year,” said Cummins. “It goes through the dormancy in the wintertime and then blooms after the winter. You can prune those now and you won’t hurt it, but you might be cutting off your flower buds, so you might want to wait on those.”

Cummins say to prune only a third of the total height or volume and any dead growth. You’ll also want to protect young trees, like maples, from bark splitting or predators by using cardboard wraps. Right now is also an ideal time to use post-emergent herbicides to control weeds.

“It [the herbicide] is quickly absorbed by the weed and kills it root and all so you quickly eliminate that weed from being a problem in your landscape beds,” explained Cummins.

You can use slow release fall fertilizer for your plants now, but it’s more beneficial for your lawn.

“Fall fertilization is going to pay some pretty big dividends for how well your lawn breaks dormancy and looks next spring,” urged Cummins.

You should look for a fall mix with low nitrogen for the best results.

Don’t skimp on watering your plants either.

“Most plants, especially those that have been planted in the last two to three years will benefit a great deal by water all the way until the ground starts to get pretty cold,” noted Cummins.

That’s usually after the second hard freeze of the fall. Cummins says that planting in the fall can help plants weather dry and hot summers.