Fall Planting

If hard winter freezes are at least four-six weeks away you can continue planting potted nursery stock and Spring Flowering Bulbs. West of the Cascades our typical late fall temperatures are mild enough that you can still fall plant through the end of November.

We include Fall Planting Instructions and our Raintree Plant Owners Manual with each fall order we ship; or view the Raintree Plant Owners Manual under Growing Info, top tool bar.

Transplanting (moving) an established tree:

Fall is an excellent time to relocate your oversized or struggling plant that has been in the wrong spot, or one that was planted in a temporary location last spring. Ideally your plant should be fully dormant, or nearly so. Make sure the root system is well watered a week or so before digging it up. Get as much of the root system as you reasonably can and water well after you re-plant.

If you need to move a larger tree, plan to take a little more time with the process. Start in October or early November, when the plant is nearly dormant. Dig straight down into the ground 12-18”deep, to sever the roots, along 1/3 of the planned root ball perimeter. Later in November dig along the next third of the perimeter. In December dig the final third along the perimeter and under the root-ball so you can lift the tree out. Carefully reset it in its new location and water in well. A little bone meal, or slow-release phosphorous source mixed with the back fill is beneficial, otherwise do not apply fertilizers. If you did not add mycorrhizal fungi to the soil when you originally planted, adding some now will be helpful. Finish your planting by applying a ½ inch layer of compost over the surface, then 3-4” of coarse material, keeping the mulch at least 2” away from the trunk (Raintree Plant Owners Manual  pg 3).

Share

Preparing Your Mason Bees for Winter

Mason beeIf you haven’t done so already, it is time to clean your mason bees and blocks, and prepare them for winter.

By October, mason bees have finished pupating inside their cocoons and are mature, waiting for springs’ signal to emerge. Between now and early December you can handle the bees inside their cocoons without damaging them, or waking them up accidentally, making this the ideal time to clean your mason bees and blocks, and prepare them for winter. It is important to keep naturally occurring mites and parasitic wasps to a minimum to maintain the health of your bee population.

Gently remove cocoons from the stacking trays. Trays should be cleaned with a mild (5%) bleach solution. Cocoons can also be carefully washed in a mild bleach solution to remove mites and maintain a healthy population. For complete instructions refer to “Pollination with Mason Bees” (#S427).

If you are using the block and straw system, carefully remove the bee filled straws from the block. New clean straws can then be inserted in the block. The book “Pollination with Mason Bees” has instructions on removing the cocoons from the straws if your bees are infested with mites and need to be cleaned.

If you are using home-drilled blocks without straws it is best to make new blocks each year and not re-use older ones. It will not be possible to remove the cocoons without damaging them, or remove mites and other debris. Place your new block where the filled one was and store the filled block outside or in a refrigerator as described below. Late January, or when your fruit tree flowers appear ready, position the filled block a few feet lower and below the new block. When your bees emerge in the spring they will use the new block.

Storing your bees outdoors

Mason bees over winter outdoors and survive temporary periods of below freezing weather in the Pacific Northwest. Store the bees (loose cocoons or straws) in a mouse proof container with small breathing holes until late January. Loose cocoons or straws should be cushioned on several layers of soft paper inside a cardboard box inside the mouse proof container. Keep the container in a dry location. Bee filled wood blocks will benefit from being stored in a mouse proof container also. Then in late January you can put the blocks out, or the cocoons out in the release box, and they will become active as outdoor temperatures warm. You can also manage when the bees emerge by storing them in the refigerator, see instructions below.

If your environment is more extreme, the bees may not survive the winter outdoors. You will need to store them in the refrigerator, as described below, for best results.

Storing your bees in a refrigerator

If you need to protect your mason bees from severe winter weather, or you want to manage when your bees emerge in the spring, to coincide with blooms in your orchard, you need to keep them in the refrigerator at 36-39° F. Put the bees in the refrigerator late September or early October, or just after cleaning and drying the cocoons, for the most reliable results. It is important to maintain proper humidity for the bees if you store them in a frost free refrigerator. Put the cardboard box of cocoons or filled wood block inside a plastic bag that you put several small holes in, along with a barely moist paper towel. Close the bag, and put it in the refrigerator. Mason bees will be eager to emerge from their cocoons by mid-February, earlier if you waited to put them in the refrigerator until January.

Look for hints regarding releasing your bees in the February Growing Tips, or the book “Pollination with Mason Bees” (#S427).

View our Bees and Bee Supplies page to order bees, nest blocks, or books.

Share

Plan NOW for spring planting

Flowering cherry treeAre you planning to put in more trees or shrubs next spring?  If you know what trees and shrubs you want, and where they will be planted, you can prepare the planting holes for them now.

Make a plan of where you will plant your new trees, and mark the locations in your landscape. Clear the weeds in a 2-3’ wide circle (shrub or tree), fracture and loosen the soil with a digging fork or shovel (you don’t need to lift and turn), and cover the area with a thick mulch of straw, leaves, or other coarse material.

Next spring when it’s time to plant you can just pull the mulch back, dig the hole, and plant. Refer to the Raintree catalog for spacing information.

Share

Planning ahead for spring

Planned backyard garden
Planned backyard garden (Photo credit: renoir_girl)

Are you planning to put in more trees or shrubs next spring?

If you know what trees and shrubs you want, and where they will be planted, you can prepare the planting holes for them now.

Make a plan of where you will plant your new trees, and mark the locations in your landscape. Clear the weeds in a 2-3’ wide circle (shrub or tree), fracture and loosen the soil with a digging fork or shovel (you don’t need to lift and turn), and cover the area with a thick mulch of straw, leaves, or other coarse material.

Next spring when it’s time to plant, you can just pull the mulch back, dig the hole, and plant.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

Don’t over-water plants but don’t forget them

English: A collection of watering cans of asso...
English: A collection of watering cans of assorted sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be careful not to over-water plants in the greenhouse or indoors as their growth slows down with shorter and cooler days. Water thoroughly, then allow most plants to dry out before watering again.

Provide humidity for citrus and other sub-tropical plants growing indoors.

Outside, most locations will receive enough rainfall. If you are in a drier location check the soil once a week, apply water to new plants as needed to keep the soil evenly moist.

For more November Growing Tips, check out our November newsletter. Want to automatically receive our monthly newsletter full of tips? Sign up here.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share