Before the ground freezes and it gets too cold for comfort, pull out or dig (root and all) all annuals.
It is better to get them out of the ground to eliminate eggs and harmful larvae that overwinter on plant remains. Start the program for improving the soil for next year’s garden.
Removing Frost Blackened Plants
After removing frost blackened plants spade or fork the soil and leave it rough so that air, moisture, and low temperatures will penetrate. To get the maximum benefit from the winter elements the soil should be left loose and lumpy.
Snow and winter moisture penetrate deeper when the soil is left open. Deep freezing will tend to destroy harmful soil pests.
Loosening of Soils Before Ground Freezes
For these same reasons the soil between perennials (well-spaced ones) should be loosened before the ground freezes. Further soil improvement can be made at this time by covering the cultivated soil with a generous top dressing of barnyard manure.
A thorough pre-winter clean-up of the perennial garden starts with the removal of dead tops and other debris. This will leave the garden looking neat and orderly during the winter.
More importantly, it removes the dead plant parts upon which diseases and insects overwinter. Eggs of aphids, for example, often live over on the foliage of garden chrysanthemums.
Common Diseases of Chrysanthemums
The common diseases of chrysanthemums, too, pass the winter on the foliage of this plant. Diseases and insects over-winter on the foliage of phlox, iris, delphinium, and practically all other garden perennials.
A good house-cleaning of the garden will go a long way in reducing if notsolving future pest problems.
Winter Protection for Garden Plants
Winter protection is vital to many garden plants in this northern country. Practically all garden perennials need some protection. Even the sub-zero hardy peony should be given a little covering of leaves or hay.
Most of our good garden perennials should have a winter protective mulch consisting of at least six inches of marsh hay or tree leaves. The best time to place this mulch is soon after winter has arrived and a couple of inches of frost is in the ground.
The mulch holds the frost in the ground, eliminates harmful thawing and refreezing during the winter, and prevents deep penetration of low temperatures which could be lethal to the roots of plants.
Ground Cover: Protection for Soil Moisture Lost
A ground cover of leaves or hay will also prevent soil moisture lost in winter winds and sun.
Clematis should have the added protection of a good big shovelful of soil over the crown. This assures good winter drainage. Hay or leaves a foot deep will give the necessary protection for the winter.
Madonna lilies also need special attention. Tuck some dry tree leaves or hay under the rosette of leaves made by this plant in late summer and fall. Then place leaves or hay over the plant and turn a half-bushel basket overall.
This protection should keep the leaves green through the winter. The wintering of the foliage is essential to the flowering of the madonna lily next year.
Protecting of Roses
The final step in protecting roses is taken in November before temperatures drop much below freezing. Tree leaves or hay 6” to 12” inches deep over soil-hilled plants will give good winter protection.
Many rose growers are protecting their roses successfully with leaves alone, using them two to three feet deep over the plants.
If this method is followed it is important to place poison mouse bait in tin cans (having both ends removed) among the plants before putting it on leaves.
44659 by Robert A. Phillips