Gardening Tips: From Cool Greenery

Watering Your Plants

After planting, firm down the soil and water generously to work air pockets out of the soil. Water new plants early in the day for several days until they take hold. It is always best to water early in the morning or late in the day as midday sun evaporates water before the plants can absorb it. Supplement natural rainfall as plants require and keep watering right through fall. Mor plants die from lack of water in autumn than from winter kill.

Pruning Your Plants

Occasional pruning is necessary to keep plants, large or small, looking their best. Sometimes this means lopping of big healthy branches, but more often and more importantly, it involves trimming out dead or damaged wood and weak shoots. Generally, plants should be pruned with sharp tools during their active growing season, usually spring, or right after they bloom. Eliminate straggly stems by cutting them back by half at a 45 degree angle, just above a strong shoot or bud, facing outward.

Spring blooming trees and shrubs should be pruned after blooming in spring. Other shrubs and trees prefer late winter or early spring pruning. After removing the old dead growth, artistic clipping and shaping will enhance your landscape. Plants will grow fuller and bloom more profusely with occasional trimming. Ground covers thicken and flower more when cut back about halfway. Many indoor plants need tips pinched off to encourage branching out.

Mulching To Protect Your Plants

Protect your plants with a covering of organic material. A 2" layer of straw, marsh hay, peat moss, bark, wood chips or other similar material is useful in summer and winter. Summer Mulch retards water loss, keeps out weeds and prevents soil from splashing away during rain storms. Hot and dry weather signals the time to apply summer mulch. Winter Mulch protects newly planted perennials and less hardy plants from severe cold. Apply it only after the ground cools in late fall and remove slowly when plants begin to grow in the spring. Without protective mulch, late spring freezing and thawing can cause the ground to heave plants.