Water new shrubs in fall's dry spells

Backyard Q&A

September 18, 2005|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to the Sun

Do I need to water the shrubs I just planted, since it rains a lot in the fall?

While fall plantings typically have the advantage of three moist seasons before a droughty summer spell, the weather doesn't always cooperate. September and October are often dry, and it is extremely important to ensure that new plants enter winter with adequate moisture available to their roots before the ground freezes. Monitor new plants for their first two years, and water as needed.

I'm tired of planting tulip bulbs for squirrels to eat. What bulbs won't they eat?

Voles and chipmunks, too, can discourage bulb gardeners, but you have lots of rodent-proof choices including daffodils, which now come in shades from pink to white to yellow with orange, as well as many forms and fragrances. Other options: hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), grape hyacinth (Muscari), ornamental alliums, snowdrop (Galanthus), snowflake (Leucojum), Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), glory of the snow (Chionodoxa), crown imperial (Fritillaria), Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda), puschkinia and scilla.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center.

Checklist

1. Dig up extra chive, parsley, garlic chive, thyme and oregano plants, pot them up and bring them indoors for the winter.

2. Leave large wasp and hornet nests alone. Wasp activity will cease after the first fall frosts.

Starting Saturday, Backyard Q&A will appear in a new section called Go Today.

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