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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of November 18, 2019
  • When beginning a compost pile, start with a bottom layer of coarse material such as corn stalks or wood chips to create good air circulation.  Turn the compost pile using a pitch fork occasionally so that the bottom material ends up on top.  This will aerate the pile and keep the older, ready-to-use compost on top.
  • Protect young fruit trees from gnawing mice by wrapping the trunks with metal tree guards made from 18-inch-tall cylinders of mesh hardware cloth.
  • Finish raking up any remaining lawn leaves and add them to the compost pile.
  • Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.  It is important that they go into the winter months well-hydrated.
  • If bromeliads are a consideration for the landscape next season, ‘Fireball’ comes highly recommended.  It is both durable and consistent in its performance.  Used either as a groundcover or cascading plant in a container, ‘Fireball’ shows off with beautiful red foliage in the sun and green foliage if planted in the shade.
  • If leeks are to remain in the vegetable garden over the winter, cover them with a layer of straw.
  • When growing rosemary indoors over the winter, be sure to keep the soil moist at all times for healthy plants.
  • Wash spraying equipment with a solution of 1 cup ammonia in 1 gallon of water.  Rinse with clean water and hang to dry.  Don’t forget the screen, nozzle and hose as well.
  • Check the owner’s manual for instructions on pre-winter maintenance of the tiller.  Changing the oil, draining the fuel or adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank may be mentioned.  Clean the tines of soil and remove any debris around the engine parts.
  • Place bird feeders in locations where birds can easily access them and you can enjoy watching them.  Near a tree where they can seek cover, if needed quickly, is most favorable.
  • Build a small brush pile with tree and shrub trimmings in an out-of-the-way area.  Top it off with evergreen branches for added protection.  Birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians will appreciate this safe haven.

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