Your Entire Property

  • Clean power tools of all plant material and dirt.  Replace worn spark plugs, oil all necessary parts, and sharpen blades.  Store all tools in their proper place indoors, never outdoors where they will rust over the winter.

  • Clean and fix all hand tools.  Repaint handles or identification marks that have faded over the summer.  Paint the handles of garden tools red or orange to preserve the wood and make the tools easier to locate next summer when you lay them down in the garden or on the lawn.  Sharpen all blades and remove any rust.  Store them in a dry storage area.

  • Set up your bird feeders and stock them with bird seed.  Remember to provide fresh water for them too.


  • Remove leaves and debris from lawn to reduce growth of harmful fungi over the fall and winter.  Add them to compost pile or shred them and use for mulch.

  • Drain the fuel tank of the lawn mower or tiller before putting the machine away for the winter.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Inspect trees and shrubs for bagworm capsules.  Remove and destroy them to reduce next year’s pest population.

  • Depending on forecasted temperatures, spray rhododendrons and other broadleaf evergreens with Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf to protect them through the winter.  These products coat the leaves so that they retain moisture during the cold, dry winter months.  Apply when temperature is between freezing and 40 degrees, and when temperatures are predicted to stay near freezing.

  • Wrap/stake trees and shrubs.

Perennial Beds, Bulb Plants, Roses, etc.

  • Cut down stems and foliage of herbaceous perennials after two or three hard frosts when leaves begin to brown.  Cut back Montauk Daisies to one inch above ground.

  • Clean all beds of leaves and debris.

  • After several hard frosts add mulch to your perennial flower garden.  A one inch layer of straw or chopped leaves will help conserve soil moisture and protect the root system from fluctuations in temperature.

  • After chrysanthemums have stopped blooming, cut stems back close to the ground and dispose of stems and all dropped leaves and branches.

  • Reduce peony botrytis blight and hollyhock rust by removing and disposing of all old stems this fall. This will reduce the carryover of the diseases during the winter and you will have less trouble next year.

  • Clean up rose beds again.  Be sure all diseased leaves are raked up and thrown out in trash.

Annuals – Containers and Beds

  • Fill your frost-resistant containers with winter greens.

Houseplants and Tropicals

  • African violets do well when potted in small pots.  A good general rule is to use a pot one third the diameter of the plant.  Encourage African violets to bloom by giving them plenty of light.  They can be in a south facing window during dark winter months.  They bloom beautifully under fluorescent lights.  In fact, they seem to prefer them.

Vegetables and Fruits

  • After the ground freezes, mulch small fruit plants such as strawberries.  One inch of straw or leaves is ideal for strawberries.  Small branches may be used to keep mulch in place.

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