Heap Wood Chips After Removing Invasives
Removal and suppression are steps to managing invasive shrubs and herbaceous plants such as multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, goutweed, lesser celandine, and Asian bittersweet. Remove seedpods. Cut plants down to the ground, then dig out the roots. Or carefully torch plants. Or apply low-toxicity herbicide, if that's your choice. After you've cleared the area, heap on 5 to 6 inches of wood chips. Some invasives may sprout come spring but there will be fewer to tackle.
Define Potential Garden Beds with Leaf Compost
You want to plant a new ornamental or vegetable bed in spring but aren't sure what shape or size will suit? Before digging, outline the area with string tied to posts. Fill the space with leaf compost or shredded leaves. Adjust leafy edges by raking to move the edge or add and remove leaves to try different shapes and sizes.
Prepare Fig Tree for Wrapping
Where the temperature drops below 20 degrees F, young fig trees need to be wrapped or buried. Older established trees with woody bark may freeze back but the main tree will generally survive if the tree is healthy. Prepare to wrap the fig after its leaves drop. For details, go to: http://www.paradisenursery.com/figgrowingtips/overwinteringfigtrees.html.
Winterize Your Camellia
Winter-hardy camellia hybrids, in a protected spot, can survive into Zone 6B. They're best planted on the north, northeast, or east side of a building or other barrier where there is shelter from prevailing winds and intense winter sun. For extra winter protection (especially with our recent extreme warm/cold variations), make a frame over the camellia, cover with burlap or canvas that you secure to the ground. Water deeply and long several times and be sure to mulch (3 to 4 inches) before the deep freeze.
Mix Fertilizer with Soil When Planting Bulbs
Though I originally learned to fertilize bulbs by putting bonemeal in the bottom of the planting hole, I've turned to synthetic fertilizer out of concern about Mad Cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) transmitted through meat by-products. Also, synthetic fertilizer clumped under the bulb can damage new roots. Best to mix synthetic or organic fertilizer (9-9-6, 4-10-6, 5-10-20, 10-10-20) with the planting soil. Second best is sprinkling fertilizer on top as directed.