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Chores to do in the garden in late fall

For many of us, November is a drab and dreary month. Days are short, and gray skies are the norm. Flowers are largely gone, the soil is soggy, and a drizzle or a downpour is common. Soon enough snow will not be unusual. But there are things you can do when the sun comes out — or with rain gear on.

Trunk flare is easy to see on big trees, but harder on new plantings.

Trunk flare is easy to see on big trees, but harder on new plantings.

If you’ve planted trees in the past few years, you should look at them carefully. Most planting tags on purchased trees tell you to plant them at the depth they are in the pot. Unfortunately, many trees are grown on huge farms and slapped into pots without regard to the “trunk flare” — that part of the tree that should be above ground.

Look at a mature tree planted by mother nature — or a squirrel. You will see that the base of the tree widens out, and often roots are seen snaking across the soil near the tree for a while before diving down to seek nutrients and moisture. When planting a tree, it is essential that the trunk flare be above ground. If not, soil fungi will rot the bark and eventually kill the cambium layer below it. This will kill the tree in six to 10 years. Even if the bark looks flaky and damaged, it probably will recover if you take action now.

If the tree you planted comes straight out of the ground like a telephone pole, or if there is mulch piled up against the tree, you must remove the material that will cause problems.

Mulch around a tree will hold in water and help keep weeds from stealing water.

Mulch around a tree will hold in water and help

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