New England

August, 2007
Regional Report

Store Tender Bulbs and Tubers

Elephant ear, calla lilies, caladiums, and cannas are some of the tender bulbs that need to be dug before a frost and stored over the winter. Cut off the leaves and air dry the bulbs for a few days, then place them in a box of peat moss or wrap in newspaper. Keep them in a dark, 40- to 50-degree location.

Dahlias can be dug after a frost has blackened the foliage. Dry the tubers and store them in similar conditions.

Transplant Lilies

Now's a good time to move lilies because with the stalks still in place you'll know where they are and how tall they grow. Dig very carefully so you don't damage the bulb scales. Try to keep the stems from breaking, unless they have already turned yellow, which signals it's time to cut them off. When they turn brittle, they pull out easily.

Remove Rose Debris and Mulch

Begin removing the old mulch under roses and raking up all leaves and debris. While this organic matter may seem beneficial, there are many rose disease organisms and pests that overwinter there, and you can reduce the damage to your plants next year by getting rid of it all. Once the ground has frozen, cover the bushes and apply winter mulch.

Stockpile Mulch

Begin gathering a supply of mulch to spread around tender perennials, roses, trees, and shrubs once the ground has frozen. If you mulch before then, the ground will be delayed in freezing, and rodents will begin making tunnels in the soil underneath to find a cozy home for winter where they can munch on your plants.

Weed Again

If you've gotten behind in weeding, make one last attempt to try and get rid of any that are flowering to keep them from sowing zillions of babies in your garden for you to battle next year. Even spending an hour at a time can get prevent a lot of potential trouble.

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