Winter will soon be upon us here in Carrollwood. What should you do first to get ready?
1. Inspect your irrigation system and make sure your plants are getting good coverage. When a freeze is imminent, watering your plants well is the best protection from freeze damage.
2. Add at least three inches of new mulch, preferable pine bark because it is a renewable resource. This will insulate your plants from the cold and hold in the water in the soil.
3. Trim the dead wood from your trees and shrubs. Do not prune shrubs that will bloom in late winter or spring, like azaleas or bougainvilleas.
4. Start buying your plant cover materials now so you have them ready when a freeze is predicted. Burlap by the roll is a great product because it's cheap and the width is just right for laying down in rows or wrapping around a freeze-tender shrub.
5. Make space for winter color, like poinsettias and pansies.
6. Broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts are not affected by freezing temperatures, so plant away.
7. Once your deciduous trees lose their leaves, it's a good time to transplant. But don't forget that you still have to water the roots.
At my house, I don't protect anything that is not categorized as a tropical. That means I only protect my pentas, crinum lilies and kalanchoe. My old garden roses, peach and apple trees trees actually like the cold.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!