So far, we have cut back most perennials, installed shrub protectors against falling ice and snow from roofs, put up deer fencing, and are applying anti-desiccant and deer repellents to vulnerable shrubs.
Once the ground freezes, we will be finishing up a few final garden chores:
- Protecting tender rose crowns with cones of compost
- Covering lavender, heaths and heathers with evergreen boughs
- Applying salt marsh hay or sterilized straw to exposed perennial beds and to strawberry patches to prevent winter losses
Why do we wait so long? In these long, warm falls, it takes longer for the ground to freeze. In the meantime, many small creatures such as voles and mice are looking for winter shelter. Should we put down any of the above materials too soon, it only encourages them to make a home in your garden. Plant roots will be at risk from their predation!
If you happen to see small tunnels running in your garden beds, let us know. We have an effective vole repellent that can go down even on light snow cover.
The trick will be to find that window of time between frozen ground and a lasting snow cover. In many winters, the snow cover disappears while cold temperatures remain. This is the most dangerous time for many plants. If only we knew now what kind of winter we’re going to have! My motto has always been to plan ahead for the worst conditions.