Marianne Binetti — Be thankful for your lack of chores


As November comes to an end gardeners are often thankful that the growing season is over and it’s time to take a break from watering, weeding and worrying about every blooming thing.

In honor of Thanksgiving, be grateful for all the outdoor chores you don’t have to do in the garden — at least until spring.

Do Not prune back your hardy fuchsia plants now.

Pruning can stimulate growth and fuchsias growing in the ground as shrubs that return year after year will only survive if you leave them alone and do nothing all winter.

Do Not spray your plants for insects.

Winter is coming and those white flies, aphid and leaf chomping green worms are going to die. Let Mother Nature take care of the bugs.

Do Not put rock salt on your pathways to keep them free of ice.

Salt on pathways will wash off into flower beds killing all living things. When ice coats your walkways and you expect holiday guest use sand or kitty litter to provide traction under foot, not rock salt.

Do Not seal cut branches with pruning paint.

Removing a tree branch and covering the cut with black pruning paint is so old school — and the new university studies prove it is not necessary in our climate.

Do Not prune Salvia “Hot Lips” or any other tender perennials now.

Wait until you see new growth coming from the base of your salvias in the spring and then shorten them to just above the joint where the growth is sprouting.

Do Not fertilize your roses, your rhodies, your lawn or your perennials.

This is the dormant season. You want your plants to sleep through the worst of it and feeding them now would not only be a waste of money but could keep them awake.

Do Not water the lawn, the shrubs or the potted plants — unless they are stuck under the eaves of the house.

We get enough winter rain to keep every living thing hydrated.

Do Not cultivate, rototill or spade the soft wet soil in your vegetable or flower garden.

When the soil is saturated with water it has a fragile structure and should be left alone to avoid damaging air pockets. This means keep your big heavy boots off the soil as well.

Do Not park your heavy cars, trucks or power equipment on the winter lawn.

You may get away with compacting the lawn a bit in the summer months but during the wet winters you can ruin a lawn when you weigh it down.

Do Not forget to appreciate how lucky we are to live in Western Washington.

We may have slugs and moss, but very few tornados, blizzards, scorpions, alligators, rattle snakes, or days that are below freezing or above 100 degrees. We live in a gardeners’ paradise — Give thanks.

Marianne Binetti is a syndicated columnist.