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Business Hours

 

Current hours are in effect:

Monday-Friday 8-5 pm

Saturdays        9-noon

Closed Sundays

Contact Us

Blue Spruce Building Materials

970-944-2581

310 Bluff Street

Lake City, CO 81235

bsi@bluesprucelc.com

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Winterizing

Are you ready for winter?

 

Young thin-barked trees often are wrapped during the winter in Colorado to help prevent trunk injury called sun scald.  This damage often occurs on the south and west sides of young trees that have not yet formed their protective corky bark.  Mild winter daytime weather warms the cambium layer. The cells in the cambium then become vulnerable to low night temperatures.

A rule of thumb is to wrap the tree around Thanksgiving and to remove the wrap around Easter, usually in late March or April.  Tree wrap left on during the summer months provides a great place for insects to hide and disease to develop.

 

The most important nutrient for fall fertilization on COOL-SEASON grasses used here, such as bluegrass, fescue or ryegrass, is NITROGEN.  Nitrogen applied in the fall is the most important lawn fertilization of the year. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 25-5-5 or something with a similar formula.

 

Here are 10 simple steps to help your flower gardens ready for winter.

  1. Plant and/or transplant any perennials you want to move before October 1, so they have a chance to grow new roots and establish well.
  2. Cut back on your watering after October 1. This helps your plants start to go dormant and get ready for winter. If you’ve just planted this fall, you will still have to water more to help get the new plants established.
  3. Take pictures of your gardens now, to see what needs to be divided next spring. In general, gardens are at their fullest this time of year, and can show you where things look crowded.
  4. Get ready to turn off your irrigation system. If you don't know how to do it yourself, call an irrigation company.
  5. Spread a slow release, organic fertilizer or good quality compost into your gardens around the middle of October. Follow the instructions on the bag, and remember that more is not better.
  6. Plant any spring flowering bulbs by October 1. This helps ensure the bulbs start growing roots before the ground freezes.
  7. It is not necessary to cut back all of your plants in the fall. For many plants, leaving the stems helps them to make it through the winter better, and gives protection to the plant’s crown through the freeze/thaw cycles happen in the spring time. If it’s a first year garden, this step is particularly important. However, you should always cut off and dispose of any diseased portions, so that the disease does not overwinter in the plant.
  8. Pull away any organic mulch (wood chips, bark, etc) away from the plant’s crown for the winter. This prevents rotting of the plant’s roots. This is extra important in waterwise plantings, such as Penstemons, Agastaches, Russian Sage, Ornamental Grasses and Ice Plants.
  9. Weed your garden really well now, so fewer weeds show up in the springtime. Throw away all weeds with seed heads, do not compost them.
  10. Make a list of things that you want to change next year in your gardens. Start thinking about new areas to be planted, areas to be reworked, and new designs that you might want.

 Mid-to-late fall is a great time to prune. With leaves gone, you can see what you are doing and determine where corrective pruning is needed.

Corrective pruning means removing parts of the plant that aren't growing as we'd like. These may be branches that interfere with other branches, those that rub against the house or branches that overhang a walkway or roof. You can decide which ones to remove, but examine the plant carefully first to visualize how it will look after you've finished.

You'll also want to prune to remove dead or broken branches or those with heavy disease or insect infestations. Oystershell scale in lilac, for example, can be diminished by pruning. Scale often is heaviest on the older canes, so by removing them in the fall or winter, you go a long way in controlling scale buildup the following season. By pruning, you may reduce the need to apply pesticides, and you'll be thinning the shrub to allow more light penetration. The result will be a healthier plant.

You also can prune large, overgrown shrubs during fall and winter. Thin them, however, rather than shearing them at the top. Thinning will reduce the plant's size without affecting its overall shape.

Thinning is especially important for flowering shrubs. You can remove some stalks or branches without significantly reducing spring flowering. Plants such as lilac and forsythia, as well as flowering trees, already have formed their flowers for next year. These flowers are tightly encased in buds that, often, are near the tip of the plant. Shearing such plants will reduce, if not destroy, next year's bloom. That's why you should remove only dead, dying or interfering branches at this time of year. To reduce height, cut some major canes completely without pruning the remainder of the plant.

 

You can prune trees now to make them structurally more sound and less prone to future storm damage. Branches that form narrow "V" crotches are weaker than those with wide-angle crotches. Where possible these narrow "V" branches should be removed. Make the cut just outside the natural "collar." This "collar" usually is marked by wrinkles or a series of ridges in the bark near the branch union. Do not cut flush with the trunk.

If removal of a "V" crotch will destroy the shape of the tree, you can leave it in and add artificial support, using cables and hooks. This is a permanent installation. The cables are attached to screw-eye hooks placed directly through the bark of the tree at a point at least two-thirds the distance between the crotch and the top of the branch that needs support. A similar hook is placed on the main trunk at such a point that will provide a strong support when a cable is stretch between the two hooks. The hooks will not harm the tree. Rather the tree, eventually, will grow around the hooks and they will become buried in the bark. If yours is a major pruning and cabling job, however, it may be a good idea to consult a commercial arborist.

This is a good time to prune back the tops of your perennials and summer-flowering shrubs and roses. Don't prune the latter too severely. You can remove dead flowers and the upper one-third of the canes, just enough to make them look better during winter and prevent them from breaking under the weight of a heavy snow.