10 Tips to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

When winter starts to roll around, many people are dreadful of its effects on their garden. It seems almost inevitable that all of your favorite plants will slowly die during the harsh colds of the season, but there are some things you can do to prepare your garden for winter and make your landscape even more prepared and beautiful come springtime.

Here are 10 tips to prepare your garden for winter:

1. Clean up garden debris

Remove leaves and dead branches. We carry a wide selection of rakes, leaf bags, gloves and all the supplies you’ll need.

2. Remove the browning leaves and stems of perennials

Do this after frost,or leave the seed heads and dormant growth for interest and wildlife cover through winter. It’s your choice: clean and tidy or wild and wonderful.

3. Mulch landscape beds as needed

We recommend that you maintain a 3” layer of mulch around your plants throughout the winter. Mulch helps conserve moisture, slows weed growth and provides an attractive appearance to your landscape.

4. Apply Wilt-Pruf to broadleaf evergreens

These include azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and laurels, to minimize moisture loss during the cold, windy winter. Water plants thoroughly before applying this product. Follow all label instructions.

5. Continue to provide food, water and shelter for birds

Be sure to include some suet for the additional protein and fat, and use a bird bath de-icer to prevent the water from freezing. Evergreen trees and shrubs will provide shelter.

6. Store away yard equipment

Drain gas out of yard equipment, such as tillers and lawn mowers. Clean, oil, sharpen and repair all of your gardening tools, such as pruners, before storing them for the winter.

7. Prune trees and shrubs

When leaves have fallen off deciduous trees and shrubs, it’s easy to see where branches are growing in the wrong direction or crowding out other branches.

8. Fertilize trees and shrubs

Use Merrifield Tree and Shrub Food or Merrifield Flowering Plant Food. Root growth continues until soil temperatures dip to 40 degrees, and fertilizing now will improve growth next spring.

9. Protect your garden from wildlife

Deer are trying to rub the velvet off their antlers on small trees and shrubs. We’ve found the Merrifield two-part tomato cage to be an effective way to protect your plants.

10. Winterize irrigation systems

Remember – you still need to check your plants regularly to see if they need water.