How do I prepare my garden for th New England winter months - Knowledgebase Question

Boston, Ma
Avatar for cortinadelpl
Question by cortinadelpl
September 8, 2010
Hi I am a novice gardener and recently planted several perennials (russian sage and black adders)along with a few endless summer hydrangeas and black eyed susans. Now that I have my garden looking fantastic, how can I protect it during the harsh winter months in Massachusetts? Is there anything I can do to avoid replanting next spring?



Answer from NGA
September 8, 2010
Pruning encourages new growth so you won't want to prune your plants back until after your first frost. Experiencing a frost will signal your plants that it is time to go into dormancy. After the first frost you can prune your Black Eyed Susan back to ground level and place several inches of compost or other organic matter over the crown of the plant to help protect the roots over the winter months. In the spring just rake or brush the compost away and your plant will sprout healthy new stems. Woody perennials such as your Russian Sage and Endless Summer hydrangeas will not need pruning until early in the spring. You can pile some dried leaves over them or pine boughs to help provide some winter protection. If the plants are very small you can even make cylinders out of chicken wire to place over the plants (anchor it down!), and then fill the cylinders with straw, shredded leaves, pine needles, or whatever organic matter you have on hand. Once your plants are well established in the landscape you won't need to protect them during the winter months - simply prune away any winter kill after new growth begins in the spring. Hope this answers all your questions.

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