Garden & Landscape Tips

  • Houseplant growth will slow so apply less fertilizer and water.
  • Move houseplants closer to windows or to sunnier exposures if plants are dropping leaves. Don’t allow the leaves to touch the glass because they will freeze in winter.
  • Continue planting container-grown and balled-and-burlapped plants as long as the ground can be worked and the weather permits. Mulch well. Keep watering new plantings until ground freezes.
  • Remove dead or diseased branches from trees and shrubs.
  • Pull remaining vegetable and annuals plants from the garden beds.
  • Strawberry plants need protection from winter extremes. Apply winter protection when plants are dormant but before temperatures drop below 20°F, usually late November or early December.
Pot up leftover spring-blooming bulbs in pots for forcing
Pot up leftover spring-blooming bulbs in pots for forcing
Photo courtesy Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center
  • Tea, miniature and climbing roses may need winter protection. Mound about a foot of topsoil over the base of the plants. Don’t dig soil from around the plants. Purchase bags of top soil at garden centers for this purpose.
  • Prepare a hole if you plan to use a “live” Christmas tree (one that is balled-and-burlapped or growing in a container). Mulch the area heavily to prevent freezing, or dig the hole and put the fill in a protected area that won’t freeze, such as a garage or basement.
  • Reload your flower pots with cold-tolerant annuals in the South (pansies, snapdragons, sweet alyssum, dusty miller, etc.), or with winter cuttings in the North (cut evergreen branches, sprigs of holly berries, dried hydrangea blooms, etc.) In cold climates, use only plastic, foam or similar crack-resistant pots, not terra-cotta or ceramic, which should be emptied and stored inside.
  • Drain hoses and take them inside for winter. Also stow away any other breakables that don’t care for sub-freezing temperatures, such as plastic rain gauges, ornaments, statuary or fountains.
  • Protect landscape plants that are prone to winter windburn damage by wrapping them in burlap or building burlap barriers between the plants and the prevailing wind. This is mainly a threat to some broadleaf evergreens, such as camellia, nandina, cherry laurel, boxwood and some hollies.
  • Prevent frost cracks on thin-barked trees such as maples and fruit trees by wrapping trunks with tree wrap or by painting them with white latex paint.
  • Get your deer protection in place, whether it’s fencing or repellents. As the native food supply dies off with the season, deer go looking for what’s left—and that’s often the evergreens and tasty tender shrubs in back yards.
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