So you got dormant stock this spring and you aren’t sure what to do to ensure it is ready for our cold Canadian winters?
In the fall, the nutrients and energy produced by the leaves begins to push back into the roots for winter storage. This is what will help put the tree into dormancy and keep the tree alive until spring.
- Stop fertilizing in late August so the tree isn’t actively trying to shoot new growth as first frost closes in.
- Water trees well throughout the autumn up until the ground freezes. Newly planted trees will need more water than mature trees. Water acts as an insulator making plant cells stronger against cold damage.
- Above ground, consider applying mulch around your new trees. You’ll want to focus on keeping the circumference within the trees drip-line while avoiding piling the mulch against the trunk. Mulch helps insulate the roots during the cold winter and it also slows water loss from the soil. If you live in an especially cold zone(2-4) consider waiting until the ground is frozen solid before mulch application.
- If your area is particularly snowy, you can wrap the tree for additional protection through the first few winters.
- Stop fertilizing in late August so it isn’t actively trying to shoot new growth or flowers as first frost closes in.
- Allow the plants to die back on their own as the temperatures drop. This acts as a natural snow load support, and mulch. Cut back dead branches in spring.
- Water well throughout the autumn up until the ground freezes. Water acts as an insulator making plant cells stronger against cold damage.
NOTE: Cutting back perennials is mostly for aesthetic purposes. There are many insects that need this habitat to hibernate through winter, so if you choose to leave them, wait until late spring to prune once the bugs have left.
Perennials with soft foliage like hostas, or peonies: Cut back in the fall leaving a few inches above the soil to prevent excess moisture come spring.
Woody perennials: Cut back in late spring.
Primal cane raspberries: Cut back the entire plant to a few inches below the ground in early spring.
Hydrangeas: Cut back in fall.
Hops: Cut back the entire plant to a few inches below the ground in fall.
Clematis, or roses: Cut back in early spring.
Ornamental grasses: Require a large snow load to successfully stay in dormancy. (Karl Forester- cut back, Fescue/bluestem-do not cut back)
Reminder! Our warranty does not cover overwintering. It is important to make sure your plant is prepared and heathy before winter!