November E-News from Viette's               Volume 10: No. 11

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                       November/2014

Late fall garden
November is the time
to get ready for the
winter season

There are loads of late fall
garden chores to keep you busy
on these crisp November days
What a glorious time to be out working in the garden!.
Quick Links
Plant of the Month
Winterberry in early Fall
Ilex v. 'Sparkleberry' in early Fall
Ilex verticillata
Winterberry Holly  
Winter can be a drab time of the year in the garden unless you plan for winter color by planting trees, shrubs, and evergreens that will provide winter interest.
ne of my favorite tall shrubs/trees for the winter garden is the deciduous holly, Ilex verticillata. These American native hollies are covered with densely packed red berries from late summer into early spring but they are in their full glory in the late fall and winter when their brilliant red berries stand out against the dark gray naked branches!


Winterberry in winter.
Winterberry in winter.

Winterberry is extremely effective when planted en masse. The colorful berries are stunning against the snow in winter and birds will feast on them all winter!    

Snow covered winterberry
Snow covered winterberry

Ilex verticillata is wonderful for cutting for use in fall and winter arrangements and holiday decorations. Andre cuts berry filled branches in November for use in many of his Christmas displays both inside and outside his home. The branches are used dry - no need to keep them in water. They will keep indoors for many weeks.    

Colorful winterberry branches are great in holiday arrangements
Colorful winterberry branches are great in holiday arrangements
Viette Front Porch at Christmas
Viette front porch at Christmas
Winterberry grows best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, moist, acid soil. They are great for wet areas of the landscape. Berry production is enhanced when the tree/shrub is planted in full sun. Like the evergreen hollies, the winterberry holly is dioecious, meaning the male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. In order to ensure a good crop of berries, be sure to plant a male plant to pollinate the female flowers! The male can be planted in the background - it just needs to be within 50 feet of the female plants.

Beautiful fall gardens at Viette's
Ilex verticillata in fall
Ilex 'Sparkleberry' brightens the winter garden at Viette's.
Ilex 'Sparkleberry' brightens the winter garden at Viette's.

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Did You Know?  
Keep an Eye on Indoor Plants   
Now that it is getting colder, many people will be bringing their tropicals and other tender plants indoors for the winter.
Before you bring them inside, inspect them carefully to make sure that you don't bring any bugs inside with them!
Overwintering coleus
A coleus brought inside
for the winter
As a precaution, hose them down with water and spray them with insecticidal soap before bringing them in. Be sure to spray all sides of the foliage and stems.
you notice any insect activity, spray with Bonide Eight before bringing the plants inside. Always follow the label directions. 
added protection through the overwintering period, insert Bayer Advanced 2 in 1 Insect Control plus Fertilizer plant spikes into your containers. Always read and follow the label directions!    
Fungus Gnats  
Ever go to water your houseplants and see a cloud of tiny black flies skimming over the surface of the potting soil? These pesky critters are probably fungus gnats. These small insects are common pests of indoor plants. They are not only annoying but they can damage your houseplants, vegetable seedlings, and greenhouse plants.
Fungus gnat adult; David Cappaert, Michigan State University,
Fungus gnat adult
Fungus gnat larvae are slender maggots that thrive in moist potting media. They feed on organic matter in the soil such as decaying plant material and fungi but may also consume the fine root hairs that absorb water and nutrients for your plants.  


Prevention is Best
One of the best ways to prevent an outbreak of fungus gnats is to avoid overwatering your plants and be sure to dump any standing water from pot saucers. The larvae cannot survive in dry soil, so allowing the top few inches of the soil to dry out between waterings will not only destroy existing larvae but will make your pots much less attractive to adult gnats looking to lay eggs. Keep in mind that your plants generally require less water during the winter so it is important to alter your watering practices.
Controlling Fungus Gnats
Already have them swarming around your pots?
Try some of these tips:
about �" of sand over the surface of the potting soil. This not only discourages the adult fungus gnats from laying more eggs, it also traps the new emerging adults in the soil because they have a hard time crawling out through the dry sand.
For biological control, the naturally occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti) can be added to the soil as a drench. This bacterium is a different strain than the B. thuringiensis kurstaki strain (Btk) that is used for the control of foliage feeding caterpillars. Bti is used for the control of mosquito larvae in standing water in addition to its use as a soil drench for killing fungus gnat larvae.
It is important to choose the correct strain of Bt
and to read and follow the label instructions!
For chemical control, Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control lists control of fungus gnat larvae on the label. This is a granular product that is sprinkled on the soil surface and mixed into the top layer of the soil according to the label directions. It also controls many other nuisance houseplant pests. 

Always read and follow the label directions when using any pesticide. 
Tip of the Month

November in the Garden - Shrub Care      


I've written a lot about caring for trees and shrubs lately, so it seemed fitting to continue on this subject and talk about things you can do once your shrubs become dormant in late fall. We've continued to receive many shrub related questions ranging from transplanting to pruning to protecting them in the winter. These were all great questions so I thought I'd address them here.


Dormant Hydrangea 'Annabelle'
Hydrangea 'Annabelle' can be moved once it goes dormant
in the late fall.

Transplanting Shrubs 

In general, the best time to move or transplant shrubs is when they are dormant. Depending on where you live, this can be any time from late fall through early spring as long as the ground is not frozen or overly wet. It's easy enough to tell when deciduous shrubs like hydrangea are dormant because they lose their leaves but for broadleaf evergreens, like rhododendron, holly, and boxwood, it's not as clear cut. 

Rhododendron leaves curl in freezing temperatures perhaps to conserve water.
Rhododendron leaves curl in freezing temperatures perhaps
to conserve water.
Normally, evergreens enter dormancy in the late fall around the same time as deciduous shrubs, however, since they don't lose their leaves, they continue to function physiologically but at a reduced rate. Because of this, some experts recommend that evergreen shrubs should not be moved until late winter or early spring. Why?

Evergreens continue to lose water through their leaves during the winter and since many of the small water absorbing roots are removed or damaged when a shrub is dug, the remaining root system may not be able to absorb enough water to replace the water that is lost. This leaves the shrub prone to winter burn.

November, once they have lost their leaves, is a great time to transplant deciduous shrubs. Here are some tips: 


Before you dig your shrub to move it, be sure to first prepare the new planting hole. Select the new location keeping in mind the cultural requirements of the shrub and its size at maturity. Give it plenty of space, you don't want to have to move it again!  

  • Your planting hole should be at least 3 times as wide but not much deeper than the root ball.
    You want the root ball to be be sitting on firm but well-drained soil so it won't sink after it has been planted. Andre's motto for planting trees and shrubs: "Plant them high - Never die!"  
  • Click for Andre's recommendations for preparing and amending the planting hole. 

Once you have prepared the new planting hole, you are ready to dig up the shrub you are going to move. It is very important to dig as large a root ball as you can handle, but the size will depend upon the size of the plant.  

  • In general for shrubs, dig at least 6" of root ball for every 12" of spread of your shrub.
  • Click for details on digging a tree or shrub.  

Sometimes, especially for evergreens, it is beneficial to root prune before digging the shrub. If you have time to wait before transplanting, this increases the rate of success . It encourages the formation of new feeder roots and reduces transplant shock. Root pruning can be done in the early fall in preparation for moving the shrub the following spring.   


Pruning Shrubs in Late Fall  

I have recently been asked, "What shrubs can you prune in the fall?" Normally I would do most of my pruning in the early spring rather than in the fall. However, there are some good reasons to do some minor pruning in the fall once the shrubs are dormant. Here are a couple:


Hybrid Tea RoseHybrid Tea Roses

Often during a hard winter, the stems of hybrid tea roses and other shrub roses can break at the base due to snow or ice build-up on the plant. Late October and November is a great time to tip back any these roses. Cut back any long canes that look like they might whip around in the wind.

  • Prune hybrid tea roses back to about 30" from the ground. This should help prevent damage from the weight of ice and snow.  
  • In the spring, after the danger of cold weather, is the time to do the main pruning of these roses.  

Boxwood and Holly for the Holidays! 

Pruning of boxwood and holly is done mainly to control size and shape, and to improve the health of the shrub. Annual thinning with hand shears is recognized as one of the best pruning methods for maintaining the health of the shrub. Happily, you can do this type of thinning in early winter when the trimmings can be used for holiday decorating! 

Click for tips on thinning boxwood. Holly can be cut for holiday greens in the same way.


Do not prune spring blooming shrubs like azalea, forsythia, and rhododendron now or you will be cutting off all the blooms. The time to prune spring bloomers is right after they finish blooming in the spring.   

Protecting Tender Shrubs in Winter

Hydrangea macrophylla may require winter protection in colder zones.
Hydrangea macrophylla may require winter protection to keep the flower buds from freezing.

In colder zones, fig trees and certain shrubs like Hydrangea macrophylla, miniature roses, and newly planted roses may need to be provided with some sort of winter protection.  


A good way to accomplish this is to surround the shrub with black roofing paper and carefully pack straw or oak leaves inside around the branches and stems. Use stakes to hold the cylinder of roofing paper in place. If the shrub is very wide, you can carefully draw the branches together with twine before making your enclosure of roofing paper.  
black roofing paper is ideal because it not only provides a wind screen, but it also absorbs heat from the sun and keeps the shrub warmer in the winter. You can use burlap in the same way but it doesn't absorb heat the way the roofing paper does. 
leaves are the best type of leaves to use as an insulator because they are more resistant to rot and seem to drain better. Maple leaves, sweet gum, and tulip leaves mat easily and get mushy when they get wet. They also breakdown faster than oak leaves. Pine needles are also an excellent choice for insulation.
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From the Viette's Views Blog ...
The correct orientation of the hand shears makes a clean cut.   10-24-2014 16:40:21 PM

The trees are donning their brilliant fall colors, the fields of corn and soybeans are being harvested, the last tomatoes and beans are being picked from the garden - fall is here! These beautiful, crisp, cool days of autumn are when we begin to put our gardens to bed for the season. This has many [...]...�

   10-10-2014 14:46:39 PM

Hydrangea macrophyllaRecently, several questions related to pruning different trees and shrubs have come to my inbox or have been posted to our Discussion Board. One of these questions was regarding Endless Summer hydrangea. I have 7 Endless Summer Hydrangeas that did not bloom at all this year. In previous years, I had tons of blooms, so [...]...�

Save the Dates! 

Don't miss our   

   Holiday Decorating Workshops 


Thursday, December 4 - 10:30am 
Friday, December 5 - 10:30am  

Saturday, December 6 - 1:30pm
Sunday, December 7 - 1:30pm


What could be more fun and rewarding than creating your own holiday decorations and arrangements? 


Holiday arrangement from the garden Learn from the experts and see how fun and easy it can be to create fabulous holiday decorations.  

Watch as they demonstrate a variety of decorating techniques! 


Learn how to preserve Christmas greens, make door swags, candle centerpieces, wreaths of all types and sizes, roping, boxwood kissing balls, Della Robbia wreaths, topiary trees, holiday garland, tabletop "trees" using fruit and greens, plus some exciting new ideas 


Read about these fun workshops on my blog! 


After each workshop, Andre will give you a personal tour of his beautiful home and gardens all decorated for the Christmas season. 

Andre's beautiful This Christmas wonderland takes Andre a full two weeks to complete and includes: 
  • A live Christmas tree with snow and colorful ornaments
  • A live Christmas tree with crystal, pearls, and crocheted ornaments
  • Loads of beautiful arrangements with live greens
  • Gold mantle arrangement
  • Antique, hand-made ornaments
  • Bell collection and colored glass collection
  • Santa collection with over 100 Santas
  • Beautiful manger arrangement
  • Old Christmas card collection, and lots more . . .
  • Plus, many wonderful outside arrangements with beautiful greens and colorful berries combined with antique farm tools, sleighs, and sleds!
Viette Front Porch Christmas
Sign up early - space is limited!
    Sign up by November 21st and SAVE $5.00!

Each workshop is only only $40.00
       ($35.00 if you register by 11/21/14).

Each participant will take home: a bundle of mixed evergreen boughs, 3 wreath rings (8", 10", & 12"), 1 spool of floral wire, 1 large oasis block, a 6" design bowl, assorted spruce & pine cones, a $10.00 Gift Certificate for Viette perennials to be used next season, and loads of great ideas for your holiday decorating!

Pre-registration is required.
Call 800-575-5538 for more details & to register.
Gardening Questions?
Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'
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Aloha - Join Mark on a Trip to Hawaii  
Hawaii Four-Island Agricultural Tour
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Lava flows in Hawaii
Join Mark Viette on this unique tour of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii

Tour highlights include:
Oahu - Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Punchbowl Crater, Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial with shuttle boat ride 
Kauai - Opaekaa Falls, Wailua Riverboat Cruise, Fern Grotto, Steel Grass Farm 
Pineapples Maui - Iao Valley State Park and Iao Needle Lookout Point, Old Whaling Capital of Lahaina, Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation
Hawaii - Hilo, Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa & Kilauea Volcanoes, Jaggar Museum, Giant Ferns, Thurston's Lava Tube, Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, NELHA, fish farm

PLUS two gardening presentations given by Mark Viette.


Click for more information about this exciting trip.
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