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.

Rose Care

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.

Evergreen Care

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.

Perennial Care

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.


Fall Fertilization

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.


Vole Prevention

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.


Deer Prevention

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.

So you’ve had a bountiful veggie season, and harvested your crops, and now that temperatures are beginning to drop, that’s it, right? Well, not quite. If you want to have a successful season next year, you can take a few extra steps now to treat your soil and ensure your plants will do just as well (or better) come spring.

Step 1: Clean Up

This step is so important! Before doing anything else, take a few moments to pull out weeds, brush, and other dead plant material. Some of this debris contains disease and insects which can cause problems in the spring, so you’ll want to remove them from the bed rather than just rake them in.


Step 2: Add Lime

Most veggies tend to like the soil a little “sweet” so you can sprinkle some garden lime on top of the soil now, so it has time to absorb into the ground and change the PH of the soil by the time spring arrives. Tip: If you’re planning on planting potatoes you can skip this step as they tend to like more acidic soil.


Step 3: Add Nutrients

If you think about how nutritious your veggies are, just remember that those nutrients come from the ground. You can help replace depleted nutrients by putting down Organic Garden-tone at the same time you apply the lime. This step will also help add in some microbial activity which further benefits the soil.


Step 4: Insect Control

To help keep unwanted insects at bay, you can apply an organic insect control like diatomaceous earth to keep your springtime veggies happy.


Step 5: Amend the Soil

To give your soil some additional love, we recommend top dressing your garden bed with compost like Soilution which contains lots of beneficial goodies including earthworm castings, mycorrhiza, biochar, lobster, kelp, and nutrients (everything but the kitchen sink).


Step 6: Plant a Cover Crop

There are a few reasons why you should consider planting a cover crop like Winter Rye. First, it quickly fills in the garden bed, which prevents weeds, but also acts as erosion control. Second, since Winter Rye is deep-rooted, it pulls nitrogen up to the top layers of soil through the roots which your veggies love. The deep root system also keeps the soil from becoming compact, which will make springtime planting easier. And finally, you can let it grow until about three weeks before you plant, and then, when you cut it back, you can till it directly into the garden bed to create green manure.


And that’s it! Following these simple steps now will ensure your garden will do even better next year!

Happy gardening!