By Freddy Hill

Oklahoma County Master Gardener

How can I maintain ornamental mums and pansies?

Pansies should be planted and well-watered at time of planting. A layer of light mulch will stabilize soil temperature and soil loss. Mums, if hot-house mums, may not survive over winter. Look for ones that are grown in pots outside or unheated. Your retailer should give you this information. Plant in a hole wider than the pot. Backfill but do not overfertilize. Water thoroughly and add a light layer of mulch. Twenty-four or more hours before a severe frost is scheduled to arrive, water to help plants resist frost damage, otherwise after long dry periods. Late winter and early spring control early weeds by pulling; so don’t use a nonspecific herbicide in these areas while plants are growing.

How do I water Bermuda and Fescue lawns during winter?

Both warm season and cold season lawns need careful watering. Cool season grasses need watering year round, with 2 inches per week in May through September. Warm season grasses need their water during their growing season; one inch per week in May through June, and in September, and 2 inches per week in July and August. Winter water as described above. For overall growing and caring information call your County Extension Office and ask for Publications E-441 and E-442. They are also available for other horticulture questions that may come.

How should I water my newly planted trees this winter?

Newly planted trees need watered 2 inches per week at planting. This winter the water may not flow naturally to the rootball. Make several holes around the edge of the hole and soak several times to fully soak the rootball and surrounding area. Otherwise deeply water the trees once a month and after several days of warmer than freezing temperature. You may also give them a thorough watering a day or 2 before a strong freeze is scheduled. Take care to stake trunks if needed and keep growth from around the base of the tree. Soft mulch can help discourage grass and weed growth, keeping this mulch 2 inches away from the trunk.

That’s a lot of watering questions; there are other important steps you can do this winter: Finalize your size, shapes and elevations for each garden feature. Do all the prep work, including plans to move any plants that need relocating. Mark the location of your perennial plants and any annual areas you want to reseed. Hand broadcast seeds over these areas. Look at any pruning or shaping needed now that leaves are gone. Use a reputable arborist for any climbing work.

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