Linda Tomlinson: Fall warmth does not have a detrimental effect on gardens

Very few, if any, people complain about unseasonably warm weather in November.

Very few, if any, people complain about unseasonably warm weather in November. It shortens winter, which most years can feel far too long. For the most part, warm falls do not have detrimental effects on plants.

Perennials will continue to absorb moisture and store it for winter. The tops of some varieties die back and go dormant with the first killer frost, but others remain green until the ground freezes or they are covered with snow. A late fall gives perennials more time to develop roots.

Spring bulbs do best when they planted and winter comes late as they, too, have more time to become established.

Evergreens continue the uptake moisture until they go dormant later in the season. Warmer weather will cause the plants to transpire or lose more moisture. In many places the soil is wet but unless it is saturated, take time to water evergreens to ensure they have adequate moisture to last until spring. The simplest way is to leave a hose trickling around the drip line or outer branches of the tree or shrub. Feeder roots are found in the first 12 inches (30 cm) of the soil surface.

Wrapping an evergreen for the winter, or shielding the side that receives direct or reflected sunlight will lower the plant’s transpiration rate.

Deciduous plants that bloom early in the season set their buds during the growing season. The size of the buds that overwinter depends on the plant. When there is a cold spell followed by unseasonably warm weather the buds will swell. A few buds might open, but they usually stop expanding once the temperature drops.

If by chance the flower bud breaks, enjoy the flowers now knowing that the plant does not have time to develop new ones for next spring. Not producing flowers for a year will not harm the plant.

Frost resistant plants that were left in the garden, kale, spinach and Swiss chard, will continue to grow. Harvest and enjoy.

Garden seed that has been planted in the fall for spring germination could germinate. For this to happen, the soil temperature must reach a certain temperature, and contain enough moisture to support new growth. In the fall as in early spring, the moist soil is usually cold.

A warm fall is a great time to transplant. Most plants are dormant and do not lose as much moisture due to transpiration. Be sure to water all plants that are transplants regardless of the moisture level in the soil.

Lawns will continue to grow. Mow when needed. Leaving grass long over winter is an invitation for rodents to visit. It also makes it much harder to clean in the spring. On the other hand, too short of grass leaves the grass roots without winter protection. Lawns overwinter best if they are between three and four inches (eight to 10 cm) long. Removing leaves in the fall helps prevent them from molding.

The weeds in the lawn and flowerbeds will continue to grow. Once the ground freezes annual weeds will die and perennial ones will stop growing and expanding. They will continue next spring once the snow melts.

Plants, especially the native ones will not suffer due to warm fall weather. Spend time outside and enjoy.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden @hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as the 2020-21 WHL season kicks off Friday in Red Deer against the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels set to host Tigers in WHL season opener

24-game WHL Alberta only season kicks off night Friday at the Centrium

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Most Read