Top 10 Tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Winter 

 Originally Written: October 16, 2017

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on November 24, 2017 by Hanna Trafford

Whether we want to face it or not, summer is over and fall is at our doorsteps.

Take some time this fall to tuck your garden in for the winter and you will be helping your plants to stay strong and have a fresh start next spring.


Here are the top 10 tips on what to do:

1.      All Garden Plants:

Continue watering during dry spells in the fall to help roots store energy for winter, but stop fertilizing after midsummer to discourage new growth that might suffer winter damage. Any weeding done now means less weeding in the spring.

2.      Lawn:

When the grass stops growing (mid to late October), feed it high nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen is the first number in a three-part formula you will see on fertilizer bag description. This will increase root growth and gets grass off to a green start next spring. Make the year’s last mow shorter than normal – about 2 inches to discourage winter fungal growth.

3.      Newly Planted Evergreen Shrubs:

Insert sturdy wooden stakes in the ground around the shrub and attach burlap with staples to create a screen. Place stakes far enough away so that burlap won’t touch foliage. The burlap will shade foliage from winter sun and protect it from the drying effects of wind.

4.      Perennials:

No need to cut down all dead stems and seed heads. These provide shelter and food for birds. But – if plants were infected by diseases or insects during the summer, cut them down to about 3 inches above the ground. This will discourage diseases and pests from overwintering and resume their destruction next season.

5.      Newly Planted Perennials:

When the ground begins to freeze and plants are dormant, lay a 2 inch layer of shredded leaves over crowns. Late winter’s alternate freezing-thawing cycle can heave the perennials which haven’t had the time to grow strong root system, out of the ground.

6.      Tall, Narrow Junipers and Cedars:

wrap jute twine – gently, not tightly – around and through the shrub from bottom to top to keep branches from splaying our and breaking under heavy snow.

7.   Broad-leaved Evergreens: Spray with and antidesiccant in late fall, when daytime temperatures are just above freezing to protect foliage from burning in winter’s strong winds and sun.


8.      Climbing Roses:

After leaves fall, tie the long canes (branches) to a fence or trellis to prevent them from whipping around in the wind.

9.      Tender Roses:

When the top few inches of ground freeze, mound weed-free topsoil or coarsely shredded leaves over the bottom 12 inches of the plant. Next, apply about 2-3 inches of wood chips, shredded leaves or small evergreen branches over the root zone.

10.   Container Plants:

Compost plant that won’t be overwintered indoors, remove potting soil and store empty containers upside down in a sheltered area or indoors to prevent frost damage.

Hope you have found this information helpful, please send in your comments, suggestions, and experiences – your input is always welcomed!

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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