With temperatures plummeting into the single digits mid-November, we scratch our heads and try to figure out when to call it quits on fall planting. But, with a warm front settling in on us, digging will resume and trees are getting dug for fall planting and spring inventory.
When the foliage drops in the fall, plants that have been protected are now exposed to the conditions. These plants, along with new plantings and evergreens, require protection in the winter. Last year we had big losses on northern exposed plants from extreme dry cold that pounded us early January and into February. These plants would have had a much better chance had they been cared for with supplemental watering. Winter kill can also be reduced with the use of anti-transpirant such as Wilt Pruf.
Anti-transpirants help plants retain moisture. Watering intervals are tough to gauge. When we are warmer and temperatures are above freezing, give two deep waterings a month. Once we drop to freezing and stay there for an extended period of time, back off to a deep watering once a month. Plants don't use as much water when temperatures drop but still need the moisture of a deep soaking. It's important to reapply an anti-transpirant periodically during the winter months.
Plants with great winter interest are the Ilex verticillatas with the long lasting berry set. Aronia holds foliage for a long period of time. Pragense Viburnum is another deciduous plant that holds foliage for a long time and is effective for screening. Bark also gives winter interest; one of my favorites is Rhamnus.
Have a great fall planting season!