December 2010

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GARDENING TIPS FOR DECEMBER 2010

There are not a great many chores that are really necessary for the month of December, but there is one that should not be overlooked or “put off until later”, which is a very easy thing to do during this busy season which is often cold and rainy. The deciduous fruit trees are due for the second dormant spraying for the season in late December (Christmas), the last one being due in mid-February (Valentine’s Day). If the November spraying was delayed because the trees had not yet dropped leaves or rain interfered with your schedule, still try to get done as close to the recommended timing as possible.

We have already had some very low temperatures in late November and hope that everyone was ready and protected their vulnerable plants. Do keep all plants well watered when freezing weather has been predicted — a wet plant will tolerate the freezing much better than a dry plant. Since water freezes at 32 degrees F., the wet soil will be kept at 32 degrees by a ‘blanket’ of ice, even though the temperature may go lower. Plants can similarly be protected by letting a sprinkler run allowing the ice to coat the leaves and thereby protect them while looking pretty with icicles hanging on them. Of course, that may not be practical in many yards. Things can be covered with purchased frost cloth, old blankets, big towels, etc. Don’t drape plants with plastic because it has no insulation quality and where it touches foliage it will transfer the cold directly to the foliage. It can be useful as an enclosure on a framework around the plant with an air space between, particularly if it is possible to hang a light bulb within the enclosure to generate some warmth. A big cardboard box can be a useful nighttime enclosure — people create lots of clever ways to protect their plants from the cold.

We received our berries, rhubarb, artichokes, and asparagus roots about two weeks ago. We received regular and thornless boysenberries, red, black and yellow raspberries, strawberries, Olallie berries, gooseberries, and red and black currants. They are bare root, so you need to be prepared either to plant them or hold them somewhere with the roots covered well with moist soil or sawdust, or something similar until they are planted.

Many beautiful things have arrived from Oregon recently — blue spruce and Douglas fir for use as living Christmas trees, dwarf Alberta spruce, dogwoods, Japanese maples, winter daphne, and many other things.

Foil wrapped poinsettias, Christmas cactus, blooming amaryllis and other florist plants are often given as gifts at this time of the year. They are lovely and to keep them looking their best, it is important to make sure that water doesn’t collect within the foil wrap causing possible root damage to the plant. If the foil is cut away from the bottom edge of the container the plant is in, the pretty wrapping can still be enjoyed. Put some pretty pebbles in a saucer and place the plant on the pebbles. That will give the plant an area for drainage without sitting in water. The little bit of humidity created by the evaporation of the water will be helpful to the plant, as well. They will need to be checked every few days to keep them adequately watered, but the little bit of extra care will keep them looking nice for longer.

Bare root roses are expected to arrive in the second week of December and should be all planted and ready to sell before Christmas. We plant them into paper pots, and to sell them as bare root plants we will pull them from the pot and put them into a plastic bag for transporting for $12.95. They can be taken home in the container for $15.95. We will have a nice selection of tree roses as well, which cost a bit more. Feel free to call to be sure that we are on schedule with our anticipated planting schedule since there are many things that can upset our hoped for schedule!

Bare root fruit trees usually will start arriving soon after the roses, but won’t be ready for sale until the first to second week of January. They are not all shipped at once, and there is much preparation involved in getting them organized for sale. One note on bare root fruit trees. Availability lists from our suppliers are showing that items are selling out. We place our order in June and will have an excellent selection but as things sell we will not be able to restock. So best to shop early for the best selection. We have availability lists for both roses and fruit trees that can be picked up at the nursery if you are interested in pre-planning. I have also attached a copy of the fruit tree list to this email. If you have any trouble opening it email me and I can send it direct via email.

We would like to thank you for shopping at Bald Mountain Nursery through this past year and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.