November was a cooler than average month with a few days of rain. Poughkeepsie set a cold temperature record the week before Thanksgiving. The thermometer bottomed out at 12 degrees twice along the Hudson. At the same time, I had 9 degrees at my house in Wingdale. These extremely cold temperatures can create problems this early in the Winter season. Landscape plants prefer a gradual change in temperature. Like us, they need time to adjust to these extremely cold temperatures.
Now is the time to finish up those Fall chores before the Winter cold and snow sets in. Make sure all beds are mulched with a mix of shredded bark, woodchips, leaves and compost. This 2″ mix will insulate the roots from the consistent freezing and thawing that appears to be a normal trend in the landscape. Pruning of perennial seeds and flowers should be put off until early Spring. These seed heads are an important food source for our wintering birds. Animals can also take cover deep down into the stems when the weather turns stormy and cold over the next month.
In areas where the Deer numbers are still high spraying Deer repellant, setting up netting and fencing are a must. Deer numbers are down in the last five years because Coyote’s are trimming the herd.
Everyone is talking about Ticks and the many diseases they now carry. Tick borne illness are characterized by flu like symptoms or worse. Ticks congregate in areas where there is an imbalance in the landscape. Woods and hedge rows where Japanese Barberry have established are high density Tick areas. Removing invasive plant species and replacing these areas with native plans keeps the population down. Birds that eat Ticks are able to get into these native planted areas to feast. Barberries dense growth and thorny character blocks birds from getting into the stem of the plant where many Ticks take cover. A thorough check of the skin after spending some time in the woods is a good practice.
Pete & The Natives