Is Your Yard Ready for Winter?

Want to know a gardening secret about the yards and gardens that really shine in the spring and summer? Those gardeners don’t stop gardening in the fall. In fact, a little preparation in the fall can be all the difference between a good garden and a great one. Use this check list to take your yard to the next level:

  • Autumn Clean-up: This is the time of year to clean up the garden in anticipation of winter and a carefree spring. Save fallen leaves to use as mulch or to add to the compost pile. Add the last few rounds of grass clippings to the pile, they’ll help add nitrogen. If you want to encourage wildlife, leave seed pods, berries and rose hips on plants. A water source is also appreciated. Ornamental grasses can be trimmed to a height of 4 inches, or they can be left until early spring to provide some structure throughout the winter months. Read more…
  • Mulch beds / use a compost dressing: Protect your garden beds from the harsh winter sun and winds by covering them with a layer of mulch. This will help the soil to retain some moisture and protect the micro-organisms living in the soil. You can also add a compost dressing to garden beds, preparing the soil for the spring season. Compost placed as a top layer dressing on existing beds will allow nutrients to leach into the soil during the winter months and with some easy turning in the spring, you are ready to plant. Read more…
  • Winterize your lawn: Fall fertilization, or winterization, can help your lawn develop a healthier root system, which will mean a dense, green lawn in the spring. In Northern Colorado, lawns can be fertilized right up to Thanksgiving (late November). Read more…
  • Plant Fall bulbs: Every Autumn, our garden shop is taken over with a diverse selection of bulbs for spring color! Tulips, daffodils, iris, crocus and more are available in a rainbow of colors. These bulbs can be planted up until the soil freezes, but shop early for the best selection! It is best to plant bulbs early in the fall so that the bulb root has time to get established, prior to the ground freezing. Bulbs prefer sandy or clay loam soil. In general, bulbs should be planted at a depth of three to four times the diameter of the bulb. If planting in a sandy soil, plant two inches deeper. Small crocus bulbs should be planted more shallowly; large allium or daffodil bulbs will be planted more deeply. We also offer amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs that can be forced to bloom in the winter months. Call or stop by for availability, and chat with one of our knowledgeable staff for how-to tips.
  • Use rose collars: Rose collars help to protect the grafts on grafted roses (hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, and many other specialty varieties) from freezing by placing the rose collar around the base of the rose plant and filling it with clean leaf debris, mulch, or compost. Remove debris from the base of the roses, and use a rose collar to hold soil, compost, straw or bark over the rose crown. We carry rose collars, which can be reused year after year. Read more…
  • Wrap your trees: Sunscald can occur on the side of young deciduous tree trunks. A typical Colorado winter day may be sunny and up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the living layer under the bark to come out of dormancy and become active. If Temperatures drop below freezing it kills active cells and conductive tissue. Young, thin-barked deciduous trees, such as honey locusts, fruit trees, ashes, oaks, maples, lindens and willows are at highest risk. Commercial tree wraps made of crepe paper insulate bark and are an effective way to prevent sunscald. In late October or early November, wrap trunks upward from the base of the tree to a point just above the lowest branches. Overlap about 33 percent with each turn. Secure the wrap with tape, but be careful not to attach the tape to the tree bark. Be sure to remove tree wrap and tape the following April to avoid girdling and possible insect damage. Information courtesy of CSU Extension.


4 Responses to “Is Your Yard Ready for Winter?”

  1. Myra Powers says:

    What’s the lowest temps tomatoes still on the plants (full size but green) will tolerate? Should I back off watering to help ripen? Best way to let green tomatoes ripen when we pick before freeze? thanks.

    • jesse says:

      I would say don’t let them experience anything below about 40 degrees. Allowing the plants to run dry out will definitely accelerate ripening. Green tomatoes can be a serious challenge to ripen once they’re picked. I would remove any fruit that is still completely green to allow the plant to ripen off any fruit that is already getting some color.

  2. Larry Crosby says:

    Is it recommended to cut back rose bushes now in the Fall or wait until Spring? Is it recommended to fertilize all shrubs, bushes and trees now or again wait until Spring?
    Thanks for your time!

    • jesse says:

      Hi, sorry for the slow reply!

      As far as cutting back roses, there are two schools of thought. In my opinion both equally valid. Roses generally experience some die-back throughout the winter. By waiting until spring to cut them back, you can prune off only the stems that are dead. This may result in a slightly taller, but also leggier plant. Cutting them back in the fall (after they’ve dropped their leaves) makes one less thing to do in the spring, and generally results in a more uniform bushier plant, but you may be cutting off stems that would have survived the winter. Either way, the plants don’t seem to care too much.

      Wither fertilizer, I generally recommend waiting until early spring unless you have a plant that was particularly starved and looking weak going into fall. In that case, you can apply a low-nitrogen tree & shrub fertilizer at about 1/2 the recommended rate in the fall. As with pruning, this should be done after the plant has dropped all of its leaves.


Leave a Reply

If you have questions regarding our inventory or plant availability, please submit your question through our contact form. Questions regarding inventory availability will not be answered in the comments section.