Well, the month of October has come and gone. It’s time to begin to think about the possibility of winter rearing its ugly head in the not-too-distant future.

We have been lucky that the past month has given us a fair amount of rain. As have I told you in earlier columns, your trees and shrubs need a steady supply of water in the fall to help those trees and shrubs survive the winter. The dry winter winds do pull a lot of moisture out of plants, particularly those plants that hold their leaves during the winter. Even with a lot of rain this fall, you should be taking additional steps to protect those shrubs that keep their leaves all winter.

There are products called anti-desiccant sprays that you can apply to those plants that keep their leaves all winter. The spray comes in a ready-to-use bottle, or you can buy a concentrate that you mix with water and then spray onto the leaves of the plant. There are two commonly available brands that you can find at garden centers: Wilt-Pruf and Wilt Stop.

What you need to know is that these products need to be applied at temperatures above 40 degrees, and they need to dry in daylight hours. They are essentially a wax that needs to dry in ultraviolet light. The temperature above 40 degrees allows the wax to properly flow over the surface of the leaves.

If you have lived in New England long enough, you know that the temperatures can drop and stay below 40 degrees in November. With that being said, it is time to get the spray on the leaves of your plants that keep their leaves all winter.

You will also find that spraying the flower buds of those plants that have set their buds for next spring will help keep the buds from drying out over the winter. If you look at your rhododendrons, you will notice those big buds on your plants. Those will often dry out during the winter.

Over the years, I have had people talk to me about dogwood and other spring flowering trees that are not flowering in the spring. In many cases, the flower buds dried out over the winter. An application of an anti-desiccant spray to the tips of the tree branches will help those flower buds survive the winter.

If you have someone who plows your driveway, it is time to think about marking the edges of the driveway with markers. You can buy driveway markers at many stores. You can also make up your own markers with heavy-duty wooden stakes.

Once you have those wooden stakes in the ground, apply some orange spray paint to the tops of the stakes. This makes it easier to see the stakes during a snowstorm. Most of the commercially made driveway markers have reflectors on top or some type of reflective material that makes it easier for the plow person to spot the markers.

Marking the edges of the driveway helps prevent the lawn from being damaged by a plow blade hitting it. Markers placed near shrubs can also help prevent damage from large amounts of snow being pushed up against the shrubs.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years. 

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