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Prepping Yard for Winter

By Ed Ball | Published on October 06, 2020 | 2 min read

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The end of summer often feels like the end of working in the garden, yet there are a few more things you can do to support your plants through the winter. Getting these chores done before the first hard frost will not only help your plants but give you peace of mind as the days get shorter.



While you’ll want to pull annuals from your garden, perennials should be put to bed to ensure they will overwinter successfully. Cut them back to the ground or within a few inches off the ground. It’s also an ideal time to divide any plants which have either outgrown their location or can be repeated in other parts of the yard. Hostas, daisies, and peonies are particularly well-suited to fall division. These cleanups will also make your beds look neater throughout the winter and make it easier to remove leaves and other debris.


Flowering Shrubs

Shrubs such as roses, hydrangeas, and other flowering shrubs should be cut back to 12-18” from the ground. You should also remove any new growth that you don’t want next season. Pruning flowing shrubs during this time of year allows the plant to focus on setting roots and then going dormant in the winter.


Deciduous and Evergreen Trees

Deciduous trees should not be pruned in the fall but rather wait for winter when they are fully dormant – we like to do it in January or February. Evergreens do best when pruned in the spring as they come out of dormancy. So good news – no tree pruning necessary!


Spring Bulbs

Once your beds are cleared of debris, it will be easier to access areas to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. These bulbs will make more of an impact when planted in groups, so consider adding them in blocks of color for maximum impact. 



By now, that beautiful mulch you put down in spring has likely decomposed or absorbed. Mulch can be added back to your beds as a bit on insulation as well as an attractive top dressing to make your garden look neat and tidy throughout the season. Take care not to add more than two inches as plants need to continue to breathe and receive adequate amounts of nutrients while not getting soggy.



Your lawn will likely still need a few more passes with the mower in this region before winter. Lower the blades during your last cutting to send your lawn into winter with proper aeration and access to sun and nutrients. If you use a lawn service, talk to them about their fall services, which may include one last feeding.


Not only will these actions help your plants through winter, but they will also help lessen your workload in the spring and allow you to focus on enjoying your yard. For more, listen to our podcast.