VIRGINIA BEACH , Va. – For a continuously healthy garden, it’s best to stay one season ahead. Throughout the autumn months, prepare for winter, and spare your plants from the oncoming cold by following these tips from STIHL and outdoor living expert P. Allen Smith.
· If you live in a region where winter temperatures typically drop below 20°F for extended periods, you will need to lift and store tender bulbs such as elephant ears, dahlias and calla lilies after the first frost.
· Selective applications of herbicides on perennial weeds are especially effective during the fall while the weeds are storing nutrients in their roots for winter. When working with herbicide, be sure to protect your hands with protective gloves to avoid contact with skin. Easy2Grip Gloves by STIHL are oil- and gas-resistant, making them a good choice for this kind of work. Follow manufacturers’ instruction manuals for all products you use, including use of all indicated personal protective apparel.
· Build a cold frame to extend the growing season.
· Root crops such as carrots, radishes and potatoes may be left in the ground well into winter. Mulch heavily and harvest as needed.
· Add well-rotted manure and organic humus to your flowerbeds. Your plants will thank you for it next spring.
· Transplant deciduous trees and shrubs after the leaves have fallen. The BT 45 STIHL planting auger will make quick work of this task.
· Plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and globe alliums.
· Rake up and remove any leaves on your lawn. It is important to remove dead leaves because, over time, they will form a dense mat that smothers your grass. For an environmentally responsible way to speed up this job, use the STIHL BGA 85 handheld blower.
· Protect your water features from fall leaves with netting. Stretch the netting over the water surface and secure the edges. Remove the leaves that land on the netting on a regular basis.
· Detach watering hoses from outdoor spigots, drain them, roll them up and store in a dry location. If your outdoor water is on a separate system from your indoor pipes, shut it off and then turn the faucet on until all the water runs out. Place an insulating foam cover over the spigot to keep ice from cracking the metal.
· In areas of the country where winters are mild, sow sweet peas. The variety ‘Winter’s Elegance’ blooms well during the short days and reduced light of the season.
· Cover strawberries with a straw mulch. Wait to mulch your beds until after the first hard freeze, when the soil is frozen to a depth of about 1/2 inch.