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With the incredibly warm weather we’ve been enjoying this November, it’s hard to believe that harsh winter weather is just around the corner.

There are 3 things you can do in late fall to ensure that your trees and shrubs make it through the winter and bounce back come springtime healthy and looking their best.

1. Fertilization

Did you know that fertilizing your trees and shrubs in the late fall is more effective for promoting overall plant health than fertilizing in the spring?

Plants respond to a late fall feeding by pulling in the nutrients, converting them to sugars and storing them. Come spring these sugars are available to the plants to use immediately when the weather warms, allowing them to bounce back quicker and healthier from the winter.

A late fall feeding will also help your trees and shrubs resist disease, drought, and insect damage next season, as well as improve flowering.  Go to this article to learn more about late fall fertilization.

2. Dormant Pruning

Late fall, winter, and early spring are the best times of the year for pruning MOST woody ornamentals (small shade trees, flowering trees and flowering shrubs). The cold temperatures eliminate the risk of disease or insects from cutting the plant, and the lack of foliage makes it easier to see the overall structure.

Pruning maintains a plant’s “Three S’s” (Structure, Shape and Size), as well as increases the flowering and overall vitality of your landscape plants.

Proper pruning is both an art and a science that requires specific plant knowledge. For example, while cold weather is best for pruning MOST ornamentals, it is not the best time for certain broad leaf evergreens, boxwoods or evergreens. Also, there are specific pruning techniques for specialty plants like hydrangeas, roses, hollies and rhododendrons that can dramatically increase their blooming performance.

If you’re interested in learning more about the basics of pruning, check out this article from our website.

3. Protection

The two most common types of winter plant damage that we see every year are Winter Burn and damage from deer.  There are steps to take in late fall/ early winter to prevent both.

Winter Burn is a stressful condition for plants where foliage dries out and dies off due to cold temperatures, drying winter winds and frozen ground combining to deprive plants of their natural moisture uptake.

Broadleaf evergreen shrubs (such as Boxwood, Rhododendron, Holly and Euonymus) and young evergreen trees (such as Pine, Fir, Spruce, Arborvitae and Yew) are particularly susceptible to this problem.

The most effective way to combat Winter Burn is with the application of an anti-desiccant spray. These sprays form a clear, colorless, flexible coating on the plant foliage and stems, which substantially reduces water loss during the harsh winter months without interfering with plant growth or affecting plant health.

Anti-desiccants are applied twice over the course of the winter: once in early winter and then again in mid-February.  The timing of the applications is critical for the protection to be effective.  You can learn more about anti-desiccants in this article.

Deer damage is another common winter problem for landscape plants.  When deer are fighting for survival in harsh winter conditions they frequently eat yews, rhododendrons, hollies, roses, euonymus and arborvitae. However, in extreme conditions deer have been known to eat just about any plant.

One way to protect your landscape plants from deer damage is the application of organic plant sprays that repel the deer.  Another way is by building fence panels that provide a physical barrier from deer.  A service that Reder  Landscaping provides to homeowners is to build these panels, put them up, take them down in the spring, and store them for use from year to year.

So call Reder Landscaping today to get your trees and shrubs fertilized, pruned and protected from the harshness of winter.  Be sure to ask about our Bronze, Silver and Gold Plant He.alth Care Programs These plant fertility programs are designed to keep your trees, shrubs and perennials in top shape year round. Also, inquire about our Certified Arborist Plant Care Program, for homeowners with mature landscapes who want a custom, comprehensive plan crafted by a plant expert.

From plant care to lawn care to irrigation to landscape design and installation (and now, Snow Removal)– Reder Landscaping is the one company that does it all!