• November 21, 2019

GARDENING: Preparing your plants for the colder weather - Odessa American: Gardening

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GARDENING: Preparing your plants for the colder weather

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Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2019 12:45 am

With colder temperatures approaching fast it is important to prepare your backyard garden for the winter. Some important things every gardener needs to do is cut back their perennials. Leaving seed heads in tact is important because they provide food for many birds in the winter months when food is harder to find. Cutting back diseased plant tissue is also important and disposing of it to reduce possible plant pathogens from overwintering in your yard. Do not add this diseased tissue to your compost pile!

Do use your healthy-looking leaves as they fall to the ground for composting or just mulch them in place with the lawn mower to help replenish your soil for next spring. Also tilling your soil will help bring up insects that overwinter in the soil and help reduce their numbers next spring.

Remove annuals and vegetables to prevent disease from overwintering in the debris and it will also help keep your garden looking tidy. Some annuals can be taken inside for the winter or you can take cuttings of them to propagate for the following spring.

Protect your shrubs and trees by adding a good layer of mulch around the base to insulate the roots from the extreme cold over the winter. At least two inches of some type of mulch over the root zone and be careful not to pile mulch against the plant’s trunk and crowns.

It is tempting to prune when the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves but this will just lead to damage to the plant from the cold temperatures. It is important to prune back in the late dormant season such as February to April. Pruning in the fall can lead to dieback at the pruning sites, pruning closer to spring helps the plant have new growth and heal sooner.

For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland.

Odessa, TX

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