Prepare Your Plants for Winter

We all know that winter’s blast will soon be upon us. Every year we get out our winter gear, make sure the furnace is working, and winterize the house.  We also take extra precautions to take care of our animals over winter, but sadly we often forget to “winterize” our outdoor plants.

 A small amount of extra TLC for your plants in the fall will reward you greatly in the spring.  

Allowing plants to dry out in the fall and go in to winter unprotected often results in winter burn or winter kill. Here are a few steps you can take to help your plants get through winter.

  • Protect plants from wildlife. Add tree guards, fences, or whatever it takes to protect trees and shrubs from rabbits and deer. Rabbit or deer damage that goes all the way around the trunk of a tree will kill the tree.

  • When possible mulch the base of plants with mulch or leaves. This will help hold in moisture and keep them from drying out over winter.

  • Water plants once a week through Thanksgiving. (An inch of rain counts as a watering.)

  • Protect some trees from “sunscald”. Younger trees, especially some varieties of maples, are susceptible to sunscald on the bark. This later leads to cracking of the bark and a weak spot susceptible to breakage. To protect from sunscald, put tree guards on your younger trees over winter.  

  • · If plants are in above ground pots, they are very susceptible to winter kill as roots freeze and thaw throughout the winter. If possible, move pots to a shady, protected area and make sure plants are well watered before ground is frozen. Even these precautions may not be enough to protect from winter damage.

Get ready for winter – and don’t forget your plants!