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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of December 2, 2019
  • If deer were browsing on your containers this season, consider using deer-resistant varieties of plants in your containers next year.  ‘Pandola’ flamingo flower (Anthurium ‘Pandoa’), ‘Ghost’ fern (Athyrium ‘Ghost’), and Himalayan maidenhair fern (Adiantum venustrum) are a few great choices to deter the deer from eating the plants.  Growing in partial to full shade, any of these choices will have the deer take a sniff and walk away.
  • After buying the Christmas tree, store it in a shady, cool place outdoors.  Once you are ready to bring it indoors and set it up, cut an inch off the trunk to expose fresh wood.  Immediately immerse the tree in warm water when placing it in the tree stand without letting it dry out.  Decorate and enjoy!
  • When planning to keep fish in the garden pond over the winter months, keep the pump running and arrange its intake to draw water from approximately 1’ above the pond bottom.  Always clean out excess sludge and debris from the water.
  • When not planning to keep fish in the garden pond over the winter month, shut off and disconnect your submersible pump, clean it and store it in a dry place until spring.  Drain all lines and the filter and clean the filter pads.  This is best completed when the water surface develops persistent ice.
  • If the landscape is starving for some beautiful winter interest, consider adding ‘Blue Star’ Singleseed Juniper (Juniperus Squamata ‘Blue Star’).  A dwarf form with silvery blue, needle-like foliage in a mounded form, it is great as an addition to the landscape border or rock garden.  Thriving in full sun, blue star will grow one to three feet tall and wide.  It is hardy in zones 4-8.
  • Having an adequate layer of mulch on newly planted trees and shrubs will help to prevent the vicious soil freezing and thawing cycle.  Plant roots will break and/or heave when allowed to freeze and thaw.
  • For a more diverse fruit garden next year, consider growing elderberries.  They are extremely hardy and will grow in almost any soil that is somewhat moist.  They require little to no care.  Having beautiful flowers, berries and yellow to red-orange autumn foliage, be careful of their aggressive spreading habits both by seed and root suckering.  By keeping the grass constantly mowed around the bushes, helps to keep them where you want them.  Elderberries are hardy in zones 3-9.

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