Use this helpful fall gardening guide to ensure your plantings will survive and thrive next spring.
Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall. Using this checklist will prepare them for a successful winter dormancy.
Shade and Ornamental Trees
- Start the pruning process as soon as the leaves start falling. Remove broken, misshaped, dead and diseased branches. This keeps the tree in a more natural shape and eliminates potential disease and insect infestations.
- Tip prune by removing up to ½ of the new growth. This will help the tree form new branches at each leaf node.
- Check for Black Knot. Do you see lumpy black growths on branches or twigs? If so, follow our step-by-step guide: How to Spot and Prune Black Knot
- Clean up debris below the tree: this removes winter spots for insects.*
- Have you suffered from insect infestations? An application of dormant insect spray at this time is beneficial to get things back under control.
- Tree wraps prevent frost cracks in the stems of fruit trees, Schubert Chokecherry, Amur Cherry, and Black Ash during the extreme cold temperatures. They also protect against mice and rabbit damage. We carry commercial white coils at Cannor which work very well.
- We can’t say it enough: watering matters! Water in your trees for the winter, as the soil must be wet when freeze-up occurs.
- Prune fruit trees after a hard frost and removal of the fruit. Remove about 2/3 of new growth. This allows branches to form spur growth (the flowering part of the tree) at each leaf node.
- Clean up all the debris below the tree: fallen apples, dead leaves, weeds, and branches. This is important as this debris can harbor insects and diseases.*
- Add one bag of manure to the soil surface.This gives the tree some early nutrients next spring.
- On top of the soil surface (and manure), add about 10cm of dry peat moss. This insulates the tree’s roots and can actually keep them dormant for an extra week or so, giving flowers their best chance to escape damage from a spring frost.
- Skip the fertilizer. It’s not beneficial in the fall. Wait to apply when it’s useful, in early spring.
- As always, watering matters! Water in your trees for the winter, as the soil must be wet when freeze-up occurs.
Debris Cleanup: Key To Stopping Aphids and Leaf Rollers
If you had bugs on your shrubs and trees this year or if you noticed that your plants had leaves that were rolled up tight like a tube, you most likely had aphids and leaf rollers. These pests lay eggs that are on your plants ready to hatch when the weather warms up.
The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen again is to clean up all of the leaf debris around your yard and spray the trees and shrubs with Horticultural Oil. The film of oil coats pest eggs and keeps them from hatching.This product is nontoxic and safe for use even on your fruit trees.
Importance of Fall Watering
Although cool weather and rainy days in late summer and fall make it appear that trees are getting plenty of water, our climate is never wet enough properly water our gardens. Remember keep your water schedule right up to freeze up!
Winter Rogues Gallery: Deer, Rabbits, Mice, Skunks and Muskrats
Prepare for winter visits from the local wildlife. In winter, rabbits, porcupine, mice and deer will strip the bark off your trees. Fruit trees and flowering trees seem to be winter favourites. Later in spring as new shoots and leaves appear on your shrubs and perennials they will be back to snack in your yard again!
Here are a few of the solutions we have available to send the pesky animals into your neighbour’s yard instead:
To Repel Dogs, Cats and Skunks: Critter Ridder® uses a patented blend of ingredients derived from hot peppers to irritate nuisance animals when they smell, taste or touch a treated area. After a few unpleasant visits, they will be unwilling to return. Critter Ridder® is approved for use in organic gardening, so it is perfect for even the most eco-friendly gardening and landscaping regimens.
To Repel Deer: Bobbex Deer Repellent is an all natural, non toxic liquid you spray on plants and trees (repels with smell). Safe for use on the most sensitive plantings and harmless to all wildlife including humans, pets, birds and aquatic life.
To Repel Rabbits, Deer and Muskrats: Skoot, non toxic to animals. We’ve had experience using this product to deal with muskrats at the store! Skoot’s unpleasant taste deters pests from taking a bite of your plants. Mix up the granules and spray onto your tree trunks, branches and plant foliage.