NOW IS THE TIME to prepare your feeders and garden for winter. Here’s a few reminders.
At the feeder:
- Sign up for Project FeederWatch and become a citizen scientist by counting the birds that come to your feeding station from November to April.
- Learn more about birding by joining a bird club or signing up for a bird walk.
- Birds need plenty of roosting places in winter. Don’t take down your bird houses; leave them up so the birds can use them as shelters in the cold.
- Keep a good stock of bird seed in case of emergencies. You don’t want to get caught short when you need it most and the weather has gone bad. Consider storing more seed during the winter, or better yet, put a couple of bags in the trunk of your car for safe keeping. The extra weight will give you added traction when the roads are slick, and you’ll always have a ready supply on hand for your hungry winter visitors!
- Put your posts in the ground before it freezes for your new bluebird houses. You’ll want them up in February when the ground will be too frozen.
- Set up a submersible heater in your birdbath to keep water accessible thoughtout the winter.
- In the garden:
- Drain your hoses and put them away so that they won’t burst.
- One of the most asked questions at this time of year is “when can I transplant my shrubs and trees?” This month and throughout the next several months will be good times to transplant trees and shrubs. At this time of the year, most ornamentals have entered into dormancy, and can be safely dug and replanted. The key to transplanting is to dig a large root ball (get as much of the root system as is possible). Equally important, is getting the plant back into the prepared soil as quickly as possible, to keep the roots from drying out. Large trees or shrubs should be staked to protect them from wind whipping during winter storms. Keep them staked until the roots have a chance to develop and anchor them.
- Dig a hole now for a living Christmas tree.
- Use chicken wire or hard plastic wrap around young trees to prevent deer feeding.
- Shred your leaves; the smaller you can shred them the faster they will compost. Oak leaves take the longest to break down.
- Mulch new perennials once the ground has frozen hard to prevent freezing and thawing. –Irvine Nature Center