Winter is here, but this doesn’t mean that you need to hibernate indoors. There are plenty of winter gardening things to do in your yard and garden during the cold season, and this includes the planting of trees and shrubs.
This is a great time to plant. In fact you have a bit of an advantage when planting in the winter, since many plants are dormant, and will require less water.
However, evergreen plants, such as juniper, arborvitae, magnolia, camellia or holly still need to be watered if we don’t receive ample rain.
Also, it is a good idea to mulch newly installed plants so as to protect their roots from the cold.
These dreary winter skies may have you longing for bright colors, adding plants like witchhazel, red twig dogwood, helleborus, camellias and ‘Color Guard’ yucca to your landscape for winter interest.
These plants are wonderful for adding color, but be sure when purchasing camellias to buy those that are appropriate for your hardiness zone. Just because the nursery has it for sale doesn’t mean it is suitable for your climate. Often you will see marginally hardy camellias at nurseries.
Leaf removal is another winter task you can perform. When you’ve finished raking however, don’t throw the leaves away. You earned them! Instead mulch them with a shredder or your mower, then add them to your compost pile or spread a thin layer on your beds for low cost mulch. This looks especially good in a woodland garden. Another option is to spread a 1-2” layer of mulched leaves over your vegetable garden.
The leaves will prevent winter weeds from growing as well as keep the soil from eroding away. In the spring, till the leaves you’ve accumulated into the soil. This simple act will increase the nutritional content and organic matter of your soil.
Finally, winter is a great time to test the pH of the soil in your lawn, ornamental and vegetable garden. Visit your local UT Extension office for details on the procedure for collecting soil samples. This simple test will tell what you can add to your soil to get the most out of your lawn and garden.
If you can mobilize yourself into completing these winter gardening tasks, you will have jump started your gardening season as well as gotten some fresh air and exercise… and it sure beats jogging, right?
2016 Master Gardener Class Scheduled
Make plans now to be apart of the 2016 Sevier County Master Gardener Class. The Extension Office will be offering its next series of classes starting in February. Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings starting Feb. 16 and running through April 19, 2016. Classes will be held in Sevierville at The University of Tennessee Sevier County Extension Office, which is located at 752 Old Knoxville Highway, next to the Sevier
County Fairgrounds. Cost of this class is $150. Class topics will cover all aspects of
home lawns, landscapes and gardening. To be apart of this next class you need to contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 453-3695 or e-mail me at [email protected] to receive information on the upcoming class.
W. Alan Bruhin