Preparing Your Plants for Winter
Winter is on the way, which means it’s time to prep your plants for snow, cold weather, and pesky winter critters. Lucky for you, protecting your plants takes just a few easy (we promise!) steps.
Some roses are more hardy than others. If you see a root graft at the base of the plant (you should see this on your hybrid tea varieties) you’ll want to give your rose a little extra protection. Apply a woody mulch, compost, or Sweet Peet in a mound around the base of the plant.
During the winter months, evergreens can be vulnerable to desiccation, or over dryness of the foliage. You can combat this by applying Wilt-Pruf, an all-natural pine resin, to the tops and bottom of your foliage. Apply the first coat before temperatures are consistently in the freezing zone, typically around Thanksgiving, and then reapply when temperatures peak back up to the ’40s.
As the temperatures drop, most of your perennials will start to look a little sad, with foliage turning yellow and dropping to the ground. But don’t worry, your plant isn’t dead. For perennials, you’ll want to cut that foliage down to about two inches above the ground. This step will prevent that dead foliage from developing diseases like blackspot and clears the way for new plant growth. Come spring you’ll have a whole new plant!
Note: There are some plants you’ll want to avoid cutting back in the fall. When in doubt, feel free to ask us. We’re here to help!
Fruit Tree Care
For fruit trees, you’ll want to apply horticultural oil. This “seals in” the plant and gets it through the winter months and also helps prevent scale and other insects. You can also use horticultural oil on holly, boxwood, and rose, and hydrangea cane.
It’s a good idea to fertilize your plants in the fall to set your plants up for success in the spring. Roots will hang on to the fertilizer you apply now and come spring your plants and lawns will get that extra boost they need to push out new growth, especially following a harsh winter. For additional tips and to find out what type of fertilizer you should use, be sure to check out our article on fall fertilization.
Voles will happily girdle roots, gnaw on bark, and munch on bulbs. They tunnel freely in the soft earth and snow, damaging trees and shrubs all the way up to the snow line. To help to prevent those pesky critters, apply a granular mole & vole repellent right before the first snowfall.
Arborvitaes and other evergreens can be especially vulnerable to deer in the winter months when their food is in short supply. If deer are prevalent in your area, apply a granular deer repellant (liquid repellents will freeze) to your plants in the winter.