Saturday, November 24, 2007

November Gardening Notes

Many plants, shrubs and trees look dormant at this time; but, their roots are still growing. So until the ground freezes you should continue to water. Until early December continue to plant deciduous shrubs and trees.

The holly trees, decorated with red berries, remind us of the approaching holidays. If you have only one holly tree and no berries; you need a mate – for your holly tree. Hollies are dioecious. The female holly tree bears the berries and the male tree provides the pollen. One male holly tree will serve many female holly trees. Deer will munch on young holly trees; if there is nothing better to eat.

Ginkgo trees also are dioecious. The female ginkgo produces a smelly and messy fruit, which is a delicacy in China. The ginkgo has beautiful fan shaped leaves which turns a brilliant yellow after the other tree leaves have already fallen. In my mother’s yard antique (over 100 feet tall) male & female ginkgos are the last trees to lose their leaves. Every year around Nov. 9th (my brother’s birthday) the falling brilliant yellow fan shape leaves signify the end of colorful autumn. This year the golden leaves are still clinging on. Over Thanksgiving the sugar maples were still in color. This is unusual and probably due to our warm and dry fall (global warming?).

We have plenty of dead leaves, but only the oak leaves should be used for mulching your garden. Oak leaves are pest resistant and retain moisture. Magnolia and beech leaves should remain under the tree; since they create their own fertilizer. Throw the rest of your leaves on your compost pile.

Are you considering a live Christmas tree this season? Then dig a large hole where you plan to plant your tree after the holidays. Fill the hole with your fallen leaves. When the ground is frozen; you will be thankful you were prepared.

Wisteria should only be fertilized after their leaves have fallen. This will give you more bloom and less growth next year.

Fertilize your bulb beds. Continue to water newly planted bulbs. In order to discourage voles; do not mulch around your bulbs until the ground is frozen.

Don’t sanitize your garden. Though some plants, such as Iris and peony, should be cut back and their dead leaves removed. Also roses should have their fallen leaves removed. However, many perennials are attractive and useful in their dormant state. They provide food and protection for birds and protect new growth. Especially, your chrysanthemums or mums will start to look messy as the flowers fade and the leaves fall, but the old stems will protect new growth. The result will be healthier plants next fall. So leave some of your garden clean-up till spring.