Foundation shrubs planted late in fall need little watering

BACKYARD Q&A

January 20, 2002|By Dennis Bishop | Dennis Bishop,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. We replanted our front foundation with new shrubs in November. Should I water these plants during the winter months?

A. One of the great advantages to late fall planting is that the plants need very little after-care. This includes watering. Unless you are growing water-loving plants, I would not water until the first extended dry spell. If the dry spell occurs, it is unlikely to come before mid-spring or early summer.

Q. In catalogs, some plants are listed as "varieties" and some are sold as "cultivars." What is the difference?

A. This can be confusing because the terms are used interchangeably by many gardeners. The term "variety" refers to a plant that is both found and maintained in nature, but is different in one way or another from the species plant. For example, Cornus florida is the botanical (species) name for the common white dogwood. However, there is a pink flowering "variety" that is occasionally found in nature, so it is called Cornus florida var. rubra.

The term "cultivar" refers to a cultivated variety. This adds a little more confusion, because it would seem that if you cultivated a pink dogwood (a variety) from cuttings, it would be a "cultivar." But the term is not used in this way. The term "cultivar" is reserved for those plants that were not originally found in nature, but were produced in cultivation with the intervention of human hands. For example, the 'Cloud 9' dogwood was developed at the Chase Nursery in Chase, Ala. It is called Cornus florida 'Cloud 9.'

THIS WEEK'S CHECKLIST

1. Thinking of growing your own seedlings this year? Now is the time to begin planning and building a light table to grow your plants.

2. Do you need help diagnosing plant problems? Check out the plant diagnostics Web site being developed at the Home and Garden Information Center. The Web address is www. agnr.umd.edu / users / hgic / diagn / home.html.

Dennis Bishop is an urban horticulture educator for the Baltimore office of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Services. If you have a gardening or pest problem, you can call the Home and Garden Information Center hot line (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at 800-342-2507. You can also e-mail questions, order publications and diagnose plant problems by visiting the Web site, www.agnr.umd.edu / users / hgic.

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