October 2018       Volume 8, No. 5 

Hello Everyone,

Fall is upon us, with all its glorious color! Our crews have been dodging the rain and carrying on with seasonal chores, including a record amount of transplanting, dividing and rearranging of garden beds, not to mention installing new plantings.  We hope for some longer stretches of sunshine in the near future so that we can meet our goal of finishing this work by the end of October.  At that point we'll begin to "put the garden to bed," amend soil, rake and shred leaves, dormant prune small ornamental trees and shrubs, and continue to plant bulbs!
New England perennial garden in early Autumn

Now is the Time to Plan For Winter Protection
Any broadleaf evergreen planted in 2017 or 2018 needs special help to get through the coming winter.  That means boxwood, holly, rhododendron and pieris.  These plants are beautiful in the winter landscape!  But if they are not yet well rooted, they are vulnerable to winter burn.  That's the awful browned out look you'll see when driving around in late March or early April.  We notice that mature plants can be readily damaged, too, if they are sited to receive the western sun.
Andromeda broadleaf evergreen shrub
Pieris 'Mountain Fire'

To avoid that problem, we recommend our anti-desiccant spray.  With an active ingredient of pine sap, it is invisible.  It coats the leaves like lip balm, protecting them from harsh winds and bright sun when temperatures are well below freezing.  The solution breaks down gradually in early spring and literally washes away when it is no longer needed.

Please contact Kimberly: a t: to arrange for a quote by our Plant Health Care Manager, Al Newman, for your valued plants.  Anti-desiccant is applied with our power sprayer in November on sunny days without wind.  Al develops spray routes and will need to order the proper quantity of product in advance, so please be sure to sign up now!  

Many of our returning Plant Health Care clients have prepaid this service and will be automatically included in the spray routes.
Leaf Cleanup Season is Here - How Can We Help?
Leaf Shredder collects the windfall into Truck

Here at Pumpkin Brook we have a different approach to falle n lea ves than most landscape companies.  We advocate leaving a thin layer over garden beds as winter protection.  This can easily be removed in spring.
But what about the 18" deep drop from maple trees?  For small properties, we recommend our hand rakes, electric blowers, and the leaf shredder.  

An electric mower may also be used for small amounts of shredding, and this is particularly effective for  oak leaves.  Leaf cleanup will be quiet and efficient.  The only noise will be brief from the shredding machine towed behind one of our dump trucks.  The shredder helps to compact the load if we are removing all the leaves.
We may make a second pass in November after the oak trees drop their leaves if you have these trees in or near your yard. Shredded leaves can be put right back onto garden beds as a soil enhancer and natural mulch.  We also use them at weedy woodland edges in some gardens or as a winter cover in a vegetable garden.  Also they can be stockpiled for use next year on your property.  Otherwise , we are prepared to take them away and save them for 2019.
Please let Kimberly at: know if you would like to be scheduled for our leaf cleanup services.
And What About Deer?
Deer Browsing
Deer Browsing every year
Last year, we learned from our friend, the naturalist and author Mary Holland, that the enzymes in a deer's stomach change with the seasons.  In summer, they eat hostas and daylilies - soft greenery.  In winter, they go for evergreens, both needled and broadleaf.  

Al is prepared to spray the plants deer might love to browse in your yard with a smelly solution (patented, too) of garlic, hot pepper and rotten eggs.  This coats the leaves or needles thoroughly in November, just when the deer begin to think about switching over to eating woody greenery.  We have found the solution effective all winter, although reapplication can be done if needed.  In some cases, we also cover plants with deer netting as a secondary deterrent.

Our crews attach "garlic clips" to the canes of hydrangeas and the tips of evergreens.  These small pen-like clips emit a strong garlic odor that deer don't like, good for up to eight months.  We'll be doing this in November also.
What is Dormant Pruning?
It probably makes sense that trees and shrubs go dormant about now, especially the ones that shed their leaves.  This makes the period starting November 1 ideal for pruning.  We can clearly see the structure of the plant, especially any crossing branches or water sprout type growth that may have emerged this season.  Densely twiggy plants such as bridal veil spiraea are much easier to prune now.  Maples and Stewartias that have heavy sap production in spring are best pruned in late fall to avoid this problem.   
Please let Kimberly at know if you would like our help with dormant pruning on your property.
Being around Dirt is Good for You!
You may enjoy this article about beneficial soil microbes - good for your health!  Who would have guessed?
Plant Pick:  Evergreen Ferns
When bright colors disappear from the landscape, there's nothing like an upright evergreen fern to catch your eye.  By spring, these have been flattened by snow, but new growth emerges in May.  I'd like to highlight three of my favorites:

Christmas Fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides) is a native woodlander, common to rocky soil.  With a leathery surface, it creeps slowly to form a broad mound with multiple dark green fronds.  Easy to grow and beautiful to combine with gems of the shade such as Tiarella or Epimedium.  
polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern
Tiarella cordifolia

Autumn Fern ( Dryopteris erythrosora) has amazing coppery new growth emerging from glossy greenery.  A red color appears in fall to provide lovely contrast.
dryopteris erythrosora Autumn Ferm
Dryopteris erythrosora Autumn Fern

Polypody Fern (Polypodium  virginianum) is a sort of miniature Christmas fern, although botanists classify it in a different genus.  It's happiest growing in rock crevices where it may form colonies.  Also grows well in good garden soil in shady areas. 
Polypodium virginianum 

Fall is a great time to get some ferns established in your garden!
Priscilla's To-Do List for October into early November

-Begin to cut back spent perennials in stages on dry days to prevent spread of fungal leaf diseases and consider leaving some standing through winter as refugia for pollinators
-Rake or use an electric blower to remove heavy layers of leaves from lawns to prevent smothering the grass
-Pull or cut annuals after frost
-Avoid cutting down hydrangea, tree peonies or woody herbs
-Clean up vegetable gardens promptly to prevent the spread of diseases and creating overwintering sites for pests
-Test and amend soil in problem areas per soil test results
-Dormant prune ornamental trees such as crabapple, dogwood, and Japanese maple after leaf drop; also shrubs such as double file viburnum
-Plant bulbs for spring color
-Finish dividing and transplanting perennials by the end of October
-Finish fall planting by the end of October to ensure rooting before winter
-Make notes about changes or additions to next year's garden
-Winterize irrigation systems
-Drain hoses and store for winter

Let us know how we can help you with your fall garden chores and better prepare for whatever winter will bring us!  

I look forward to visiting with you in your garden in the coming month.

Priscilla and the PBOG Team
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