With the ubiquitous nature of smartphone technology, iPads and tablets, I have often been asked about my favorite gardening apps.

There are so many out there that it may be hard to choose. However, I do have one favorite: Armitage’s Greatest Perennials and Annuals for IOS and Android.

Dr. Allan Armitage is a well-known writer, speaker and researcher who has worked in landscape plants and greenhouse crops from coast to coast.

He has written 13 books (my dog-eared copy of Specialty Cut Flowers: The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers is a favorite), countless academic papers, and an industry magazine column; and has his own YouTube channel.

The app features a wide variety of content, including the cultural information of countless annuals and perennials, lists of great garden centers nationwide, links to videos, managing wildlife in the garden, veggies and ornamentals. It contains most of the information any gardener would need to successfully select and grow plants.

Let me know if you have a favorite app you use regularly.

This week’s questions come from Bernie in Evansville.

Question: Is it too late to give a good soaking to my shrubs and newer trees for the winter or is it too much of a risk to them now?

Answer: It is important to adequately water trees and shrubs in the fall to help eliminate winter injury. (Conifers are particularly susceptible to desiccation from winter winds.)

The basic rule is 10 gallons of water per inch diameter of the trunk (measured at about 4 feet above the ground) per week until the ground freezes. Of course, this amount can vary and is dependent on soil type, tree species and rainfall.

Question: If I leave the flowering shrubs and tall decorative grasses uncut through winter and cut them in the spring, will that be a problem? I kind of like the look of the stems holding out over the winter?

Answer: Many gardeners leave shrubs and grasses untouched to add winter interest to their garden, and provide shelter and food for the birds and other wildlife.

Ornamental grasses add color, texture and movement to the winter garden and create interesting contrast when they are planted near evergreen plants. Prune out dead wood and leaves in the spring to encourage healthy new growth.

If you have a nagging gardening question you would like me to answer or have a favorite gardening resource you would like to share, please email me at trot0053@umn.edu.

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