By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 18, 2001 at 11:04 AM

Q:Is it okay to plant nursery stock in the summer? Any special steps to insure success?

A: It is perfectly safe to plant nursery stock in the summer, especially already potted or ball and burlapped stock. You will need to pay close attention to the watering of these summer installed plants. An inch of water per week is the guideline.

Q: How can I stop the bunnies from chewing on my plants this winter?

A: Put hardware cloth fencing around the plant. Bury the bottom of the fence with a mound of soil to discourage them from burrowing underneath. Add rodent bait per directions if needed.

Q: Which landscape plants could the bunnies and mice damage this winter?

A: It is best to protect the following plants: Burning Bush, Flowering Almond, Koreanspice Viburnum, Korean Lilac and Purple Leaf Plum. These critters can damage any plant, but these are their favorites!

Q: How late should I water plants in the fall?

A: Water your evergreen plants right up until the ground is frozen. Water deciduous plants until they loose their leaves. In extremely dry conditions, everything would benefit from a good drink of water before winter!

Q: Can my terra cotta pots stay outside for the winter?

A: Wisconsin winters are very harsh due to all the moisture and fluctuating temperatures. Clay pots are best brought inside for the winter. Most concrete and wood containers will survive the winter outdoors.

Q: How late can I plant in the fall?

A: You should have any evergreens installed by the end of October, if possible. After that date, new evergreen plantings should be heavily mulched. You can plant deciduous trees and shrubs until the ground is frozen.

Q: Which plants can I add to my landscape to give me winter interest and color?

A: Evergreens will give you greenery all winter, while other deciduous plants will add texture and fruit color. Consider adding crabapple, hawthorn, red twig dogwood, yellow twig dogwood and viburnum to name a few.

Q: Should I cut down my perennials in the fall?

A: You can remove the dead foliage either in the fall or in very early spring. We like to get the garden cleaned up in the fall. It makes it a bit easier to winterize. We'd suggest leaving the foliage or spent flowers that are attractive in the late fall.

Q: Should I remove the snow load from my plants in the winter?

A: Let Mother Nature melt the snow on her own. If you brush off the snow you will probably damage the plant foliage or buds since the plant is frozen. Only when the snow load is so heavy that it will destroy the plant do we recommend removing it!

Q: Will the salt that I use on my driveway and walks during the winter damage my adjacent landscape plants?

A: Yes. The salt will probably end up in the beds surrounding your paved surfaces. Use Calcium Chloride or Potassium Chloride as a melting product instead of salt (Sodium Chloride).

Q: How soon can I start planting in the spring?

A: Planting can begin as soon as the ground has thawed and the soil is workable. Note that soil should not be cultivated if it is very wet. This will ruin the soil structure.

Q: My gardens need a good spring clean up. What should I be doing to get ready for the upcoming growing season?

A: Begin by removing all the dead and damaged plant material from the garden. Prune any summer blooming plants as needed. Cultivate the garden and incorporate a balanced granular fertilizer into the soil.

Q: I enjoy cooking and would like to add some herbs to my garden. Any suggestions?

A: Sweet Basil, Greek Oregano, Chives, Tarragon and Thyme are very useful in the kitchen and are also lovely in the garden. Herbs like full sun and well-drained soil. They usually need to be planted each year.

Q: I use bark mulch in my landscape. How deep should I have it?

A: Around most plant material, we recommend a 2-inch depth. Flowers, however, prefer less than that or none at all.