Winter is here? Looks like we will not have an Indian summer this year. However there are several things that can still be done for the fall cleanup and to prepare for the winter.
First, cleaning up the leaves and dead plant material from the flower beds. There are a few plants and shrubs that benefit from piling leaves around the base of the plants. However, the garden should be kept clean as snow cover will provide sufficient insulation. This will make spring clean up easier. Dead plant material left in the garden tends to mat. Removing the dead material now allows next years growth to start undisturbed by spring cleaning. Another benefit to removing the dead materials is that bugs and diseases will winter over in it. Removing the dead plant material removes their shelter. This is especially true for low growing perennials like hostas (slugs like hostas).
Second is care of the evergreen trees and shrub. Be sure to water your evergreens. We’ve had some rain, but good watering of your evergreens prepares them for the winter. Evergreens lose moisture during the winter months. Lack of moisture can cause brown needles and winter kill of newly planted trees and shrubs. Continue watering until the ground is frozen. Additionally, newly planted evergreens benefit from wrapping with burlap to prevent the drying effects of the winter winds.
Third is wrapping the trunks of newly planted trees. Wrapping the trunks with tree wrap discourages animals from gnawing on the tender bark and splitting of the bark from winter sun. Fruit trees are a favorite of animals and maples are prone to bark splitting. Older maples will also benefit with wrapping because of the abundance of sap. On older maples, while splitting does not kill the tree, it can be unsightly.