6 Steps To Winterizing Trees, Shrubs, & Ornamentals

Sleep quality is something we all understand. If someone doesn’t get a good night’s sleep, they probably won’t have a productive morning. This same idea applies to trees, shrubs, and ornamentals. If their winter dormancy isn’t peaceful and protected, their spring won’t be as productive.Tree on the shore of a lake
The winter season brings harsh conditions which can hurt plants. Cold temperatures, unobstructed high winds, and heavy snow and ice can damage trees, shrubs, and ornamentals. Winterize them with these steps:
  1. Water trees, shrubs, and ornamentals during drought in the fall. Believe it or not, fall can be just as dry as summertime. At the least, deeply water plants near the end of fall before the ground freezes to help plants store moisture during dormancy. Some plants will even appreciate watering over the winter; just be careful not to over-water.
  2. Fertilize plants for the coming winter. Pick an organic fertilizer formulated for your Tree branch bending under the weight of snowspecific plants. If you’re unsure of what type of fertilizer works best for your trees, shrubs, or ornamentals, give your local independent garden center a call or ask us on Facebook today!
  3. Prune branches that could touch the ground if weighed down by snow. Branches sitting on the ground over the winter invite disease and pest activity. Additionally, prune any weak or damaged branches to avoid the danger of having them break under heavy snow or ice build-up. 
  4. Support any young or weak plants with stakes or burlap so they are protected against winter winds. Create a wind break in your yard with a few stakes and some burlap to reduce wind damage to delicate plants. To avoid the breaking of delicate branches, tie them up with twine to more established branches or ground stakes.
  5. Tree with sunscaldWrap a tree’s trunk to shield it from sun damage and hungry animals—this is especially important for younger, less established trees. Sunscald, as seen on the right, is a type of damage caused by the rapid heating and cooling of tree bark in the winter.
  6. Mulch around the base of trees, shrubs, and ornamentals to keep the ground warm and reduce damage to the roots. Do not mound the mulch up against the trunk. Spread the mulch out as far as the tree’s branches to ensure you’ve covered its root spread.
No plant is immune to winter damage, but it is possible to give plants a better chance of surviving a cold winter. For more help with putting your trees, shrubs, and ornamentals “to bed” for the winter, get in touch with your local independent garden center or call us today!

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Clippings from our customers

Winter is closing in fast in New Hampshire. That's ok with me, as I can't wait to go ice fishing. Hard to stay ahead of all the oak leaves coming down. The lawn looks great after the lime and the September and October applications. Can't wait to see how it looks next year. Check Out His Video

Bill J. – Bedford, NH

Best fertilizer I have used.

J Burnett – Lowell, MA

Lawn looks amazing

L.R. – Ashburnham, MA

We used this ice melt all winter on some difficult steps and a walk way that always ices up. I would give this product a ten star if I could.

Wayne G – Manchester, NH

I live where the soil is already high in phosphorus (the middle number) and it’s hard to find any with none locally. I buy one of these (Fall Fertilizer Application 4) each season and they are well worth the cost. My neighbors all say my yard is looking much better than under the prior homeowner.

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Steve D. – Merrimack, NH

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John & Cherylynn Smith, National Rose Association First Place Winner – Westminster, MD

We grow 200 varieties of hot peppers and 150 heirloom tomatoes. We used Protilizer and saw no phytophthora root disease; our crop yields were higher; we had better root development; and the plants just looked healthier than they have in years. The fact that Protilizer is organic and OMRI listed is a bonus. Thank you for your help and support throughout my trials.

James Weaver, Meadow View Farms – Kutztown, PA

I will continue to be a loyal supporter of Natural Alternative products. Your bacteria based products are unmatched in the industry.

Darryl Schultz, Bud Shultz Garden Center – Dunmore, PA

I am a vegetable and annual grower. I recently started using your Protilizer Seed & Plant Starter on my annual nursery stock. The results exceeded my expectations. My Impatiens, Petunias, Marigolds were healthy and disease free. The root development was the best I have ever seen. This year I am also trying it in my strawberry fields.

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We are pleased with the results we’re getting with Protilizer on our pansy crop. We did not have any stem disease for the first time in years. Please send me another 6 jugs. We need it for our poinsettias.

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As a grower/retailer we use Natural Alternative Protilizer and 5-5-5 plant food in our growing operations to maintain top quality plants in our retail stores. We have reduced our use of fungicides for root diseases to almost zero. During the hot summer months, our customers remark that our plants look so healthy for the middle of summer.

Jim Glick, Ken’s Gardens – Lancaster County, PA

Thank you all for your help and recommendations. I appreciate the time you spent on the phone with me to work toward a solution for my lawn. You have been a tremendous help. What terrific customer service!

J. Jackson – Columbus, Ohio

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Lee Roeder, Strosniders – Bethesda, MD

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Craig S. Co-Owner – Twins Ace Hardware, Fairfax, VA 22030

I just wanted to thank you for the great products that Natural Alternatives produces. I did cut my lawn last Saturday and got all the leaves up and early Sunday morning applied the last Winter Fertilizer. I have been so pleased with your products for the lawn and for my flower beds and tomato plants. My lawn looks like green velvet. I have two dogs and am very careful as to what products I apply to my lawn and gardens. Thank you also for the "computer reminders" that you send out. They are very helpful.

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Robbie Kaplan, Ace Hardware – Washington, DC

The best stuff! I use it all the time. I used it on 15 wint o'green arborvitaes, recommended by Paul Parent. They all are thriving and huge; 4 feet to 15 feet in three years.

Tammy Schwab

We [used your] ice melt today and it worked much better than what we were using before.

Thomas Beaver, General Growth Properties – Columbia, MD