Preparing for Winter: A Fall Landscape Checklist

October is the perfect month to check off last-minute landscaping items from your to-do list. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on your garden or landscape! There are plenty of essential tasks required to ensure trees and shrubs are prepared to weather the winter months ahead.

Combined with the help of a Plant Health Care (PHC) Manager, you can help your property shine next spring. Below are 19 items to take care of before it gets too cold:

Plan

  • #1: Work with an arborist to evaluate areas in your garden or landscape that need replacement, treatment, or enhancements. (p.s.- this is a complimentary service we provide for our PHC clients 😊)
  • #2: Document by taking notes and pictures to have for future planting

Maintain

*An Emerald arborist can help you take the grunt work out of maintenance. Their expert knowledge of seasonal, fall treatments can save you valuable time, resources, and money in preparing your landscapes for a healthier, stronger spring*

  • #3: Ask your arborist if they’re aerating your lawn to promote root growth
  • #4: Mow your lawn regularly to keep grass between 2 ½ -3 inches high
  • #5: Have an arborist practice water-wise horticultural techniques
  • #6: If you have a compost pile, aerate and moisten it to speed up decomposition
  • #7: Consult an expert to inspect, treat, and remove last season pests. This includes removing fallen leaves, debris, and still water that can harbor insects and diseases
  • #8: Take in aquatic plants and tropical fish from ponds

Plant

  • #9: Plant shrubs, deciduous trees, and roses. Broad-leaved and needle-leaved trees can also be planted and transplanted during this time, as the cool weather encourages plants to root quickly
  • #10: Propagate herbs from new growth and transplant into pots for winter use
  • #11: Plant in a sheltered spot. Try to identify warm spots at the base of a south-facing wall
  • #12: Divide plants like Daylilies and Hosta after flowering. If the weather is already cool, begin planning spring-flowering bulbs (for example, wait until late October to plant tulip bulbs).
  • #13: Research before diving plants. Some species only require dividing every 4-6 years, while faster-growing plants like bearded iris can be divided every two to three years

Prune & Fertilize

  • #14: Prune plants and shrubs, like Rambling Roses, Japanese Boxwoods, Cherry Laurels, Yew, and more. Proper pruning will provide optimal growth come springtime.
  • #15: Prune trees. Pruning trees during the fall and dormant months helps reduce the risk of pests or diseases like oak wilt from spreading through open tree wounds. Arborists can help identify and treat problem areas.
  • #16: Compost. October is the perfect time to improve garden soil by adding organic manner such as compost, measure, and/or leaf mold to improve garden soil
  • #17: Enrich your soil. After your garden is dormant, spread a fresh layer of compost, manure, shredded leaves, or topsoil over the surface. The more the better!
  • #18: Fertilize roses one last time, along with lawns using organic fertilizer. A custom-made treatment will strengthen your landscape and stimulate root development throughout the winter
  • #19: Prevent frost damage. Pruning helps stimulate new growth, so removing frost-damaged parts will get rid of dead branches and stimulate new growth.

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