Preparing your Yard and Garden for Winter

Leif’s article in this past week’s Northfield News discusses preparing your plants and gardens for winter. It is especially important to make sure your evergreens are well watered going into winter. Read on….

“Preparing plants in your landscape for the stresses of winter is likely to yield nice dividends during next year’s growing season. Usually there are some very pleasant days in mid to late November for happily puttering in the garden, so be ready to take advantage of these as soon as the blustery days ease into crisp, clear conditions with lower winds.

This year established landscape plants should not need any late season watering, since we have excellent soil moisture due to the very wet period that followed last summer’s drought. New plantings placed in the landscape any time during 2007 are an exception. Give this year’s new plants a couple good watering during November, especially if they were installed during the last half of the growing season.

If at all possible, mulch newer plantings. Shredded bark or wood chips provided good insulation from the winter cold for the root system.

We’ve had some hard frosts, so it should be safe to prune Oaks and Elms now, as well as the other varieties of trees.

If you enjoy cutting firewood this time of year do your best to be safe. Wear protective helmets and face guards, keep saws sharp, work along with another person and avoid felling trees during very windy conditions. Dropping trees is by nature risky, and heavy winds definitely increase the danger. Dead trees with rotted or broken limbs can be especially dangerous. As the tree begin to fall, branches may come off unexpectedly, and fall on the person doing the cutting. There’s a reason that these old dead trees have been nicknamed “widow makers”.

As you clean up fallen leaves and spent foliage around your yard, so some assessment of what plants worked well for you and which were disappointing. Next – make written notes and save the notes for reference next March and April as you make plans and dream of garden glories of the future.

Plants that worked well for you might not do well at your friend’s house due to differing conditions, and vice versa. Rely on what your own experience has taught you work well in your gardens, and be a bit wary of all the glossy photos in catalogues and magazines. Give yourself permission to experiment with some new varieties each year, with the understanding that some will be wonderful and others disappointing. You won’t know until you try!

As Thanksgiving nears and harvest on area farms winds down, I’m grateful to have had another season to watch the landscape come to life in the spring, bear fruit in summer, and wind down in the fall. Now comes the time when the landscape sleeps through our dormant season, offering a natural time for reflection and preparation. Thank you for sharing the journey.

Plant Spotlight: Interesting hues and textures for holiday decorating can be found by using Red-twigged Dogwood, dried ornamental grasses, and Bittersweet vines. What a great way to decorate your flower urns, window boxes and planters after the summer annuals and fall mums are done! Red and yellow twig dogwood shrubs are wonderfully versatile. Prune them and use “