Winter Preparation

 Anticipating the End of the Year

Winter Preparation

Some More Things They Never Tell You.

Save the final blowing and cleaning of your diverse planted beds until after the ground is cold hardened.

  • For the thorough cleaning of beds in which perennial and self sowing plants reside, it is safer for those inhabitants if you wait until frosts solidify the ground.
    Necessary walking in the beds and the directed winds of the finish blowing then happen after the hard ground closes and protects the subterranean tenants.
  • I will imagine that you have been lightly cleaning the leafage throughout the fall, now you can safely finish up. For earlier raking, I find that a soft fingered rubber rake is the only tool gentle enough to leave the perennial crowns and soft earth undisturbed.
  • Where shallow rooted plants and self sowers you treasure reside, you may want to keep the blower away altogether and just work on those areas by hand.
    Where the parent plants or I have sown seed I may set a croquet hoop or a ten penny nail in the ground to remind me to be thoughtful in that place, both for the present and then in the spring cleanup.

Don’t let your Trees and Shrubs go Dry into winter weather.

  • It is very important for your plant materials to have moisture at their roots before the hard winter sets in. Nature usually provides this end of season water, but you will want to be watchful.
    If nature does not provide at this important time, it will be valuable if you can bucket or otherwise provide some water to any trees and shrubs, especially if you have planted them within the last few years.
  • Full settlement time for your recent plantings is often estimated as at least a year per inch of  girth.


  • For many woody plants, this will be a good time to fertilise. Application at this time of year allows the waters of winter to slowly distribute the nutrients. For the same reason it can be a good time to distribute any compost you may have available to you.
  • Topdressing with composty material in the perennial beds is well accomplished after the cutdowns, when you can see the low places especially well.

Anti Dessicant Sprays

  • If your plant residents are in the path of extreme drying winds through winter, this can have a damaging effect. Many kinds of evergreens can benefit from an anti dessicant (= anti-drying) spray, which can provide a protective coating on their leaves or needles that helps them hold on to moisture within their sylvan selves……..

Winter Work for your Buildings and Grounds

  • For construction, repair or painting projects on structures and buildings lying behind the planted beds, the safest time of year will be now and soon, or just pre-spring, before the first bulb thinks about coming up.
  • When the ground is frozen solid you can walk everywhere with impunity,  so this is a good time to transport needed things across your planted land if doing so might cause damage to your soft grounds at other times of the year.
  • With a durable hard freeze, you might even get a bobcat in if you needed one.
  • Or move a building across a lake or pond.
    In long ago times, before elaborate trucks came along to help us, this was a typical practice, requiring alot of patience, alot of man and beast power and perfect timing. Where it was the shortest distance between two points, buildings that needed to do so crossed the water with specialised boats, or on sled contructs over ice.
  • Overland night trucking is probably the go-to solution now, especially since some bodies of water in our region used to freeze most years, and now almost never do. Also, we have no oxen and few horses to help.
    In places that still have a thick hard freeze transport over ice is still done, but trucks usually do the pulling.

Arrange Your Winter Views

  • In winter much of the essence of the landscape is expressed through its embedded shapes. Evergreens and architecturally fortunate trees and shrubs, wonderful stone, wood and iron elements are set off at their personal best. You can count on them.
    Each element in the built and structured landspace reveals the form of its true self when the white overlay of snow arrives to outline all its details.
  • If you arrange all the objects in your landscape thoughtfully; sorting, stacking, coiling and otherwise neatening before snow comes, you can make your landscape appearance more sculpturally satisfying for the whole winter. Try to take care of these things before the ground hardens and the buckets and such freeze solid.
    If you have placed them nicely, your work will spring freshly to life with the upcoming brushstroke outlines of snow.
    In our climate, the good effect of your end of season attentions will last for many months.

    ...The wheelbarrow  photograph was taken next door to one of my favorite nurseries, the Conifer Connection in Pembroke, Massachusetts
This entry was posted in Garden Making Guidance, Things They Never Tell You, Your Reasoned Landscape and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • All written and visual materials on this site are Copyrighted. (C) Ellen Cool 2010 - 2019


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