Q. What steps can I take now to prepare my trees and shrubs for winter?
Begin by watering generously while the plant is still growing and active, particularly if rainfall has been inadequate. Your valuable landscape plants will enter dormancy in the most stress-free state possible and will be protected against the drying effects of winter winds.
Healthy trees and shrubs can be fertilized in the fall at the time of leaf drop. The point of autumn feeding is to provide a head start for next year's growth, as nutrients will be more readily available in spring. Fall feeding will not stimulate new growth if you wait for the shorter days and cooler nights of autumn to fertilize, as your plants will harden off. Since you will be fertilizing again in spring, make your fall fertilizer application no more than half of the total yearly allotment.
Lastly, apply mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs, but be sure to keep the area just around the trunks clear to prevent rot, insect infestation and incursion of pathogens.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service