Transition time in the garden
In the original Roman calendar November was the ninth month (novem in Latin = nine). But then the Romans added January and February so November became the eleventh month, which only proves there is nothing as constant as change!
And so it is with climate and seasons as we are now in a period of cooler days and nights and unpredictable weather until spring, which behoves us to consider such factors accordingly.
With Nicole a distant memory, even though she left her wrath on the landscape, it is perhaps a good time to review her impact. She caused defoliation and left broken branches (which will need attention regarding cutting back to new clean wood); we should also remember it will take several weeks for leaf drop to finish its exercise. Growth rates are now slowing down and flowers diminishing in number; still enough to make a visual statement. Pruning back too early is not advisable; wait for new growth to show as it will be an indicator as to where to prune back to without unnecessarily removing too much wood. It should also be remembered that as Nicole was a late-season hurricane, new growth will not be as rapid as during the hotter part of the year.
November is a good time to review the past year whilst planning for next year as little work will be done over the Christmas period regards the garden. Forward planning in the garden is beneficial to the overall well being of the environment. On damp autumnal mornings, moisture lingers on foliage longer and in shady areas if leaves do not “dry out” fungal activity is likely to be increased. Foliage left on the soil also becomes an incubator for fungal activity or perhaps a “home” for insects' activity.
With all that said, give some consideration to what you have in your garden especially tree types and their age and size. Even though they may have been reduced in size by Nicole, they are still very active below soil level, which in itself will dictate the amount of new “top-growth” in the coming years. Trees heavily laden with foliage could well have been “moved” so check around the base of the trunk to establish if movement has occurred and if so determine the extent as it will dictate what work, if any, is required to facilitate any repair.
In areas of closely planted trees the “disturbance” of one root system could well impact on neighbouring specimens. In such cases review the top-growth of the impacted trees and ascertain the value of retaining them, this is especially the case of trees with weak-headed growth and structure. By removing poor specimens, you will be giving more light to retained specimens thus encouraging more light and growth on what was a “low light” area. If a single specimen tree, wherever possible remove the root system which will allow for new plantings.
In the case of a grove of trees, simply remove enough root to stop regrowth and cover with soil. Trying to remove too much root could adversely affect neighbouring root zones and therefore growth.
At time of writing, we are just short of 65 inches of rainfall, which is a good indication that plant nutrients have been leached from what soil we have and the implementation of same should be immediate, be it via incorporating a good compost into the beds or a combination of compost and fertiliser with a wide range of nutrients including minor elements.