“Putting the garden to bed for the winter is mostly a matter of cleaning up and covering up. As fall progresses and temperatures drop, those plants that aren’t killed outright by frost prepare for dormancy. Clear out the blackened stems and foliage of annual flowers and vegetables to prevent the possibility of their harboring disease pathogens and insect eggs over the winter. The cool weather is a good time to make a cold frame, dig and box in raised beds, and make general repairs.
While it appears as if all activity in the garden has stopped, there’s a lot going on under the soil until it freezes. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs, divisions of perennials, and hardy bulbs are all growing roots, drawing on soil nutrients and moisture around them. Earthworms and various microbes in the soil are still processing the organic material they’re finding. Most likely, the organic mulch you spread to protect the soil during the summer months has substantially decomposed. It’s important to spread new mulch now — a thicker winter layer — to protect plants and soil over the winter months. The idea is not so much to keep the soil warm as it is to keep the temperature even. Once the soil is frozen, mulch keeps it frozen. So if you have shade trees, convert the fallen leaves to mulch and use it throughout your property.” – From bhg.com

Your plants are in need of some tender loving care!

Winter is harsh on plants of all kinds and a little preparation will go a long way in helping them handle the cold weather. Take advantage of this weekend, before the holiday madness, and get your yard ready for the cold!

Here’s some advice on how to prepare your garden for winter…

  1. Apply Wilt-Pruf to broadleaf evergreens (including schip laurel,  cherry laurel, rhododendron, azalea, boxwood) and any newly planted evergreens. Wilt-Pruf guards against moisture loss, winter kill, and windburn.
  2. Water plants throughly at the base! We haven’t had rain in a while and plants need to go into winter adequately hydrated.
  3. Cut back perennials that require trimming. Compost dead plant debris to create an organic soil conditioner. Leave stems with attractive seed heads for winter interest.
  4. Remove diseased or dead foliage from evergreen plants and shrubs and discard it in the trash. Never compost diseased materials!
  5. Mulch your garden beds and around shrubs & trees. This protects plant roots and moderates the effects of extreme temperature changes.

More tips…

  • Rake up leaves as soon as possible after they fall. The job will be easier if you gather small amounts frequently, rather than rake a large accumulation all at once. It also prevents matting and lawn damage.
  • Apply Fall lawn care products. Such as Scotts “Step 4” fertilizer, and “Love your Lawn-Love your Soil” by Jonathan Green to stimulate soil microbes and creates a biologically healthy soil.
  • Prune and protect Rose shrubs
  • Clean out birdhouses