5 FAQ for October/November

Q. My houseplants always die in winter. Any tips on keeping them alive?

A. Use a pebble tray. Fill a cake pan with gravel and then set the houseplants on the gravel. Then add water until the level is just below the highest part of  gravel.  The humidity from the water will aid the plants, without the roots being too wet.

Q. Can I cover roses and azaleas too soon?

A. Yes. If you cover them before they are dormant, they will tend to keep growing, longer than they should and then suffer more winter injury. So, make sure that they are dormant before covering.  Wood chips, straw and/or ground corn cobs are best.

cover roses with mulch for winter

Q. How can I keep mice and rabbits from eating my trees over the winter?

A. Surround the trunks with hardware cloth or PVC and bury the edges in the ground.

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Q. My pine tree looks like it is dying.  Lots of needles have turned brown and are falling off, just in past few days…what should be done?

A. If it’s only the ones in the middle of a branch, then it’s probably just natural needle drop, and nothing to worry about.  If the dead needles are on the ends of the branch, or randomly throughout, it could be a disease or abiotic cause.

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Q. Why is fall a good time to kill weeds in the lawn?
A. Several reasons. One, the leaves tend to have less wax or cuticle on them, which makes the herbicide enter the leaf more readily. Second, the weeds are in the process of translocating nutrients in fall, so the herbicide goes along for the ride.  Third, there are fewer veggies to damage in fall.  Fourth, If the plant doesn’t die outright from the herbicide, it will enter the winter in a weakened state and more likely succumb to winterkill.

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