In a similar vein, don’t do heavy pruning now, to avoid stimulating new growth that may freeze in the cold. Don’t deadhead roses or other perennial flowers, to let the plants know it’s time to stop growing for the season.
The return of moisture can also lead to a growth spurt that can cause bark to crack on trunks and branches, he says. Maples have been particularly susceptible. What helps to speed closure is not paint but removal of bark no longer attached to the tree, Upham says. “Use a sharp knife to trace ½ to 1 inch back from the edge of the split bark all the way around the wound (if possible). Remove the ½- to 1-inch-wide bark strip from the edge of the wound.” Sterilize the knife with a 10 percent bleach/water solution or with a 70 percent alcohol solution between cuts. Leave the underlying wood bare, Upham says. “Fertilization in the spring or in the fall after leaf drop and watering during dry weather may speed healing.”
Once they’re dug, the sweet potatoes should be cured to heal any wounds in the tender skin. “Place the roots in a warm, humid location for five to 10 days immediately after digging,” Upham says. “A location with a temperature around 85 to 90 degrees is ideal. A space heater can be used to heat a small room or other area. Raise the humidity by placing moist towels in the room. The curing process not only heals wounds but also helps convert starches to sugars. This process improves the texture and flavor of the roots. Sweet potatoes should be stored above 55 degrees. Storage at temperatures below that injures the roots, shortens storage life and gives them an off flavor.”