Mid Atlantic Gardening forum: Watering in late fall

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Name: Kelly
Chevy Chase, MD (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic
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KellyGreen
Nov 27, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Things have been dry in the DC area. Do you continue to water in the fall? If so, at what temperature do you draw the line?
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
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Eric4home
Nov 27, 2017 9:45 AM CST
Welcome! Kelly. If it has been dry in your area a good soaking this time of year can be good. IMHO, I'd say any time up to the ground freezing. Smiling
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Kelly
Chevy Chase, MD (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic
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KellyGreen
Nov 27, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Thank you, Eric! Even after gardening a while, I find that some questions aren't covered in the books. How long do I water? How do I revive my ratty-looking Christmas ferns? How do I revive my ratty-looking juniper tree? How do I prune my ratty-looking azaleas? You see a theme emerging here...
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Nov 28, 2017 7:18 AM CST
I don't know what kind of juniper you have, some juniper can be pruned back, if it's truly a tree, pruning may only eliminate the ratty looking areas. Azaleas can be pruned back and it should stimulate dormant buds to grow and fill them in. I do some selective pruning on mine to control the size and shape of them. Smiling
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland
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RickM
Nov 28, 2017 9:20 AM CST

Moderator

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Kelly,

Since it's been so dry this year, watering will need to be long and slow so that the water has a chance to soak into the ground. Another reason to go long is so that the water actually goes down more than an inch. While this may be of benefit to the fern, the azalea roots go much deeper.

For your fern, you can start by removing the really beat up and sad looking fronds. Depending on the size of your fern bed, mix up some Epsom salts in water at the rate of 1 TABLESPOON per GALLON. This will provide extra magnesium for the plants to help with that dark green color. In the spring, apply a slow release, balanced fertilizer.

Since the Christmas Fern is evergreen in this area, you should hopefully start to see new growth before the temps go and stay below freezing.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Nov 28, 2017 1:22 PM CST
I agree Glad you jumped in Rick.
Kelly in the spring about the time forsythias show color you could feed the azaleas Holly Tone, after pruning. You could use it on the juniper also.
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
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Muddy1
Nov 28, 2017 4:30 PM CST
I spent some time watering things today, both at my house and at my daughter's.

The amount of rain we've had this fall has been negligible, so any shrub or tree that has been planted in the last year or so needs thorough soakings in order to make it through the winter, IMO. All evergreen shrubs like Azaleas will benefit from extra water, too, no matter how long they've been in the ground. I also water any perennials planted in recent months.

There's a 40% chance of rain in my area on Thursday. Crossing Fingers! We need a lot more than the 1/4 rains we've been getting to have an impact, though.

Name: Kelly
Chevy Chase, MD (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic
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KellyGreen
Nov 28, 2017 5:05 PM CST
Thank you for the great replies. I'm not entirely sure how to water long and slow, though you are right that soil penetration is an issue. (The property is on a fairly steep slope.) Soaker houses aren't really practical for larger beds so I've been using a sprinkler.

The azaleas get leafgro in the spring, but perhaps that isn't enough. We've got more than 50 azaleas, some of which are over 50 years old. They were thicker and had more flowers when we moved in. I have no idea how to prune them. One was looking horrible, so we cut it back to about 2' after this year's bloom, and it was looking better by August. But I don't want to brutalize them all, especially the ones in deep shade.

I'm not sure what the juniper is supposed to be. It's about a little over a story high, and has been limbed up. I suppose I should be grateful it is alive; it's on a strip between our driveway and the neighbors deck that is less than 2' wide.

This is a nice community. I'm looking forward to learning here. And those ferns will get some epsom salts this weekend!
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
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Muddy1
Nov 28, 2017 5:48 PM CST
This article suggests 3/4 to 1 inch water every 10-14 days for established Azaleas: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/w...
You can measure how much water they're getting from the sprinkler by setting a can or dish with straight sides on the ground near them.
Your Azaleas would probably also benefit from any type of mulch (including leaves) to help hold in the water; plants dry out more quickly on slopes.

I wouldn't prune them right now because you'll be pruning off the buds for next year's flowers.
Name: Kelly
Chevy Chase, MD (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic
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KellyGreen
Dec 3, 2017 7:23 PM CST
Again, thanks for the tips. Rick, I gave a couple dozen ferns epsom salt feedings today. One of the great things about buying an established garden is that you inherit wonderful plants. But a drawback is nothing has a care tag, so you rely in the kindness of strangers.

If only the previous owners had not planted ivy with the ferns. Who knows how many more may be buried beneath it?

I've decided to cut the ratty juniper a break (It's not quite as tall as it appears in the photo.) As I reflected on my seven years with it, I realized that it is living in a 20" wide bed. (The neighbors have a walkway on the other side of the fence.) It survived the driveway being replaced last year and the fence being replaced six years ago. It is shadowed by the houses much of the day. It will never do much, but It is a survivor.
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[Last edited by KellyGreen - Dec 3, 2017 8:44 PM (+)]
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