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Winterizing Roses & other November Gardening tips
by Leonard Perry
by Leonard Perry


In extension I serve as an advisor and consultant to the greenhouse and nursery industry, primarily in Vermont but throughout the region and beyond as well.

I give presentations on my research to the industry, and to home groups. In Research, my focus is "herbaceous perennial production systems".

His website is at  Leonards zone of gardening: home with my trials, generally USDA 4a. Campus in Burlington is 5.

November 4, 2007

Forcing indoor bulbs, protecting tree trunks, and getting roses ready for winter are some of the gardening tips for this month.

Some woody perennials -- technically called subshrubs -- such as butterfly bush, lavender, thyme, and heather, can be damaged or killed if you prune in fall. Leave the stems as is, protect them with mulch over the winter, and prune in spring.

Rose foliage can harbor insects and diseases, both on the shrub and on the ground. Pull off any rose leaves that are still hanging on, and rake up fallen leaves and bury them all away from the garden or dispose of them in the trash.

All you need to force bulbs indoors is a place that stays cool but above freezing -- 32 to 50 degrees. Pot up daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and other bulbs that need a cold treatment, and water them well. For the best show, don't mix different types of bulbs in one pot unless you're sure they bloom at about the same time. Then place the pots in cool storage for about 12 to 16 weeks. Check on them periodically and water when the soil is dry. At the end of the cool treatment, bring them into a 50- to 65-degree location for two weeks for growth to begin, then bring pots into brighter light and warmer temperatures, keeping them well-watered. Once in flower, keep the pots away from heat and direct sun to prolong the blooms.

To prevent sunscald and frost cracking on young, thin-barked trees such as maples, wrap the trunks with tree wrap or paint the south- and southwest-facing sides of the trunk with white, outdoor, latex paint.

This will reflect the warming rays of the sun so the tree bark doesn't heat up on winter days, only to be suddenly cooled when the sun sets and the temperature plummets.

Once the ground begins to freeze and you have consistent temperatures in the low 20s F, it's time to protect modern hybrid roses from winter's wind and cold. The simplest method is to mound bark mulch around the base of the rose, covering the graft union (the swollen part of the stem near the ground). The mound should be about one foot tall. Wait until spring to cut back the canes above the mound. For added protection from wind, place four stakes around the bush, then wrap chicken wire or burlap around the stakes. Fill the center with mulch as deep as possible. You may need to tie up long canes so they'll fit inside the cylinder. Avoid plastic rose cones without ventilation holes at the top because they can heat up and damage plants.

Make sure evergreens have a good deep watering before the ground freezes because they continue to transpire, albeit slowly, during the winter.

Protect young evergreens from wind damage during winter by wrapping them in burlap or using wooden protectors. Water these plants whenever the temperatures warm up in winter and early spring if there's no snow cover to provide moisture.

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