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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of November 13, 2017
  • Before storing for the winter, clean all pots and flats for seed starting for next season.
  • After cutting back asparagus, remove the shoots from the garden.  They may harbor asparagus beetles and/or fungus that causes rust disease.   Because asparagus grows poorly in acidic soil, apply limestone if needed.  Find out if you need limestone and how much by conducting a soil test first.   Once the limestone is applied, if needed, spread a 1 – 2 inch layer of compost to the bed.
  • Mulch strawberry, garlic and shallot plants with straw or leaves for the winter.
  • Rosemary plants brought indoor will need to have their soil keep moist.  Do not allow them to dry out for extended periods of time.
  • Wash spraying equipment with a solution of one cup of ammonia in one gallon of water.  Rinse well with clean water and hanger the sprayer to air dry.  Don’t forget to clean the screen, nozzle and hose as well.
  • Perform any pre-winter maintenance as outlined in the owner’s manual of your tiller.  If the owner’s manual isn’t readily available, change the oil, drain the fuel, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, remove soil from the tines and remove any grit that has accumulated around the engine parts.
  • Magnolias need little pruning beyond what is necessary to develop good form and remove diseased, dead and misplaced wood.  Wounds are slow to heal and susceptible to disease so make cuts in the summer, completely removing some stems or shortening others to branches.  Avoid creating large wounds.
  • When raking up leaves from lawn areas and landscaped beds, mow or shred them.  It will help to speed up composting.
  • If semi dwarf or dwarf apple trees are in your landscape plan for next year and you purchase them bare root, when planting be sure to cut back all branches, including the top approximately one-quarter or about 8-10 inches.  Make your cuts to a strong outside bud.  Repeat this process for the second and third year to train the central leader up and the scaffold branches out, parallel to the ground.  Most dwarfs will begin to bear fruit the second and third years and will bear heavily thereafter.

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