Hardening Off

When we schedule outdoor plant maintenance activities, using certain annual holidays as reminders really helps. For the 4th of July, Independence Day holiday, two things come to mind.

The first regards daffodils and narcissus
Following the Spring blossoms of these hardy bulbs, gardeners are always anxious to remove the remaining foliage. However, those bulbs need that foliage to remain in place until July 4th, in order for them to “recharge” their bulbs for the following Spring. You’re now OK to cut off any remaining daffodil foliage that hasn’t already browned.

The second regards fertilizer and woody ornamentals
To work within the natural growth cycle of trees and shrubs, we mark July 4th as the last time to apply fertilizer during the growing season. By not “pushing them to grow” after tomorrow, we give them time to “harden off” their new growth before winter cold. Continuing to fertilize them through July and August, sets them up for winter cold damage to new growth that hasn’t properly hardened off.