Winter Plants -Trees and Planting Now for Early Spring 2015!

It may not be winter on the calendar but it sure has felt like winter much of the last two weeks. It is best for our trees and shrubs if the temperatures drop somewhat gradually and they get to transition or are conditioned for the very hard freezes. We and our plants don’t get that choices, we can only respond or react to the conditions we face. The quick hard freeze has caused many leaves to drop while still green or just changing colors. The quick hard freeze will cheat many areas of the state from the full show of fall colors. Most areas of the state are still very dry and this increases the winter change risk to many of our trees and shrubs as they can dehydrate or freeze dry in these conditions. When we are dry it is important to still water your trees and shrubs periodically through the winter, especially trees or shrubs planted in the last few years that aren’t rooted as deeply into the earth.

Now that all those beautiful and colorful annuals have dried or frozen out, it is time to get serious about planting pansies to add some winter color to your yard and garden, plant pansies with a little blood meal to feed them through the winter. Pansies are one of the few color crops that you can plant in the fall and will actually grow and bloom through the cool and cold winter months. They do best planted in sunny area and will flower right through the winter and will finally succumb to the heat next spring. Few things give me as much enjoyment as seeing the pretty multicolored and interesting faces of yellow, red, bronze, purple, pink white, blue or other colored pansies peeking through a light snow or brightening a cold, dark dreary day.

This is the best time to plant your spring flowering bulbs if you want to welcome next spring with the color and joy of crocus, Dutch iris, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips or the many specialty bulbs of spring. Plant them now on a day when the ground is not frozen and they will grow roots through the winter and be ready to sprout flowers and foliage from the ground next spring. Plant your bulbs two to three times as deep as the height of the bulb with a little bone meal to feed them through the winter and get ready to host your own “welcome to spring” flower festival next March and April. The dainty crocus flowers spread though your beds or even scattered in your lawn will often be the first sign of spring. The royal colors and look of tulips and hyacinths is hard to top for early spring impact.

My favorites are still the daffodils or narcissus with their trumpets of yellow, orange or white. They often stay in flower longer, produce lots of impressive flowers, seem to be less attractive to moles and gophers and they often naturalize and come back year after year to trumpet the arrival of spring!

This is also a great time to plant and force many bulbs in containers to flower this winter inside your home. Amaryllis is now one of the most popular holiday plants after the traditional poinsettia with their huge and impressive lily shaped flowers. Paperwhite narcissus, tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils can also be forced into flower in containers if you buy cold treated blubs or cold treat your own in the produce crisper of your refrigerator.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration this next week and take time to reflect on your blessings of family, friends and the garden or crop you enjoyed this past year.


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