Old Man Winter is just around the corner. The typical Midwest winter brings icy temperatures and cold winds that can really do damage to the landscape. Taking a few precautionary steps in the fall will make a big difference the next growing season.

First and foremost, continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. Because it’s been so dry this year, also water established trees and shrubs. Adequate moisture is important for the plants through the cold winter months, even as they enter dormancy. The next step is to keep the landscape clean by removing fallen leaves and plant debris. Fallen leaves should be removed from the lawn as soon as possible. Remove annuals and vegetable plants as they die. Perennials can be cut back after the first hard frost or as they start looking unattractive. Eliminating plant debris from the landscape helps keep it safe from diseases that may overwinter in dead leaves and stems. The next step is adding mulch to the landscape. Mulch has important duties in the landscape. Not only is it attractive, providing a finished look to the landscape, it also has vital functions in the winter. Mulch protects vulnerable plant roots from freezing temperatures and keeps much needed moisture in the soil, rather than immediately evaporating into the air. Trees and shrubs can be mulched just about any time in the fall, but wait until the first hard frost to mulch perennials. There are many mulch choices available. Click here for the many options offered by KTS.

Fall is also the ideal season for other general landscape tasks. For example, transplanting trees and shrubs in the fall gives the plant time to reestablish itself prior to the next growing season. This reduces the stress the tree or shrub may experience if transplanted during the growing season. A tree or shrub under stress will not grow as vigorously and is more vulnerable to disease and insect problems. Fertilizing trees and shrubs is also an important task that can be done in the fall. When fertilizing in the fall, it is important to select a fertilizer that promotes strong root growth, rather than stimulating top growth late in the season. New growth in the fall is vulnerable to frost damage and can weaken the structure of the plant. KTS offers an organic fertilizer blend that is ideal for fall season application. General landscape clean up is an important errand to complete in the fall. This is the time to “put to bed” trees, shrubs and perennials. It’s important to tuck them in properly for the long winter nights.

Contact KTS for advice on caring for your trees and shrubs. Our experienced staff can answer questions or point you in the right direction.

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