Until the ground freezes, it's vital to irrigate newly planted trees and shrubs. You also want to water evergreens until the ground freezes. If soil is dry when it freezes, trees can experience drought stress through winter. If the ground thaws during winter, water new plantings and established evergreens.
The sun's low angle in the sky produces a greater intensity, which can damage young trees (with trunks less than 4 inches across) or ones with thin bark, like fruit trees or maples. The southwest sides of trees are at greatest risk. Protect trunks by wrapping with a commercial tree wrap or painting with white latex.
After the ground freezes, mulch planting beds up to 3 inches deep. Mulch insulates soil, which can help prevent frost heave. As soil freezes and thaws, plants can literally be heaved out of soil. Coral bells, small bulbs, and iris frequently heave. Keep mulch away from tree trunks and below their root flair.
Test Garden Tip: If your garden hosts any diseased plants, pick up and destroy all fallen leaves and mulch beneath plants. Replace mulch with a fresh layer.
Continued on page 4: Tool Shed Tips