• Clean-up: Before you know it, snow will arrive! While the temperatures remain somewhat moderate, make sure your garden is in the best shape possible. Rake up leaves, cut back perennials and remove any debris that may had fungus.  Every task you complete, especially ones involving the eradication of pests and disease, will result in less work to do this spring.


  • Bulbs: Still want to plant bulbs for spring color? Try to get them in the ground as soon as possible; they’ll have a hard time growing once the ground freezes.



  • Annuals: Annuals may have been beautiful this year, but their time is at an end. Pull annuals and throw them on the compost pile, if you have one. Some annuals will self-seed next year; in those cases, avoid disturbing seed-laden stems.


  • Perennials: Similarly, cut back perennials, but leave two to three inches of stem. Even this small amount of stem will protect plant shoots from animal scavengers in the spring. Additionally, this hint of green peeking out from the soil will remind you where dormant plants reside once warm-weather gardening season begins next year.


  • Other plants: Spare coneflower, black-eyed Susan and tall sedums from the shears, however, due to these plants’ interesting structure and tendency to attract birds. Leave ornamental grasses alone as well so their crowns are protected from winter weather.


  • Watering: It’s especially important to water new plants that were just introduced this year. Continue watering if rain is scarce until the ground freezes. Young plants are particularly vulnerable to dehydration.


  • Mulch: Pack mulch around plants. When the temperature of the soil vacillates wildly, something called “frost heave” can occur, where alternations between freezing and thawing causes soil to push plants out of the ground. Mulch can help prevent frost heave.


  • Outdoor accessories: Take inventory of outdoor accessories to determine what needs to be done to ensure they survive the winter. Extreme weather and deep freezes can damage fragile items so bring breakables inside for now. Terra-cotta pots, rain gauges, and garden art should be cleaned, dried, fixed (if necessary), and stored. Do the same with plant supports, but store them somewhere where they will freeze so pests and disease will be killed off by spring.


  • Protect: Meanwhile, additional accessories may need to be bought or crafted to protect vulnerable greenery during the winter. Ice sliding down and off roofs can damage plants so build a barrier to protect your greenery if it’s in a hazardous location. Windbreaks can be created for weaker evergreens using burlap and metal fence posts. Protect young or thin-skinned trees with paper tree wrap. Saplings may also need to be wrapped to protect them from rabbits and voles; hardware cloth or tree guards will do the trick.  Apply WiltStop to broadleaf evergreens such as boxwood and holly to help prevent winter burn.


  •  Plan for snow: Be ready for the first snowfall by making sure you have everything you need for December. Try to start your snow blower in case it needs to be fixed or replaced. Stock up on ice melt that’s safe to use around plants and hard surfaces.