Preparing Your Garden For Winter

originally written on 11/12/2014

last updated 10/03/2019

By now your garden most likely looks a lot like mine. Stark and devoid of its summer brilliance and spectacular display, but fear not! Just like with a good haircut, a well-groomed trim can make your garden look tidy now and aide in its overall health and beauty for the Spring season. It’s more than just trimming however, there are many things you can do now that will improve the overall quality of life for your entire garden for years to come including:

  • Cleaning up the leaves in your garden
  • Cutting back your perennials and pull out your spent annuals and vegetables
  • Composting and mulching


Prep Garden for Winter 2Leaves can carry unwanted fungi and diseases. Removing them is an important step in maintaining your garden’s overall health. Don’t forget that you can also take these pesky leaves and turn them into something useful; compost! Yes by taking those leaves and letting them sit off by themselves for a year you too you can have some nice, free compost that will help in future years to promote a healthy and fast-growing garden!

CUT BACK PERENNIALSGarden trimming back plants icture

Your best bet is to research how each kind of perennial in your garden should be prepped for winter.  One notable exception to this general guide is the sedum category – don’t cut those back. I cut back my perennials down to about 6 inches. I tend to leave some oak leaves around the bases. However, I do wait until after a frost to clean them up; after which the leaves will gross and black! I also don’t want to risk an immature second-growth if warm weather surprises us.

Remember that your mums are perennials! Don’t get caught up in the trend of thinking they’re annuals and let them die. Check out our previous blog HERE about winterizing your mums!


Prep Garden for Winter MULCH AFTER GROUND FREEZESAfter the ground freezes, mulch your tender plants to protect their roots. Great mulch materials like oak leaves, evergreen boughs, or pine needles may be found right in your own yard!

A great idea is starting your own compost pile in your yard from organic materials. This is where all those leaves we were talking about come back into play, but you can use other things as well! Some common compost materials are table scraps, fruit and vegetable scraps, thin layers of grass, leaves, and even dead plants from your garden. It’s never too late to start a compost pile, and the benefits are almost endless!


Prep Garden for Winter LIMENow is a good time to check the pH level of your soil. Koopman Lumber will check the pH level of your soil for you for free, all we need is a cup-a-dirt from you! Different plants require different pH levels so let us know what you’re growing and we can give you recommendations on the best way to treat your garden.

Fertilize with Lime, aged cow manure or compost AFTER the ground freezes. Your spring garden will love it!


After a season’s worth of work in your garden, your garden tools also deserve some TLC. The cutting edges on tools have probably dulled after repeated use. Koopman Lumber offers sharpening services that will give your tools professional care so that they can perform at their very best next year.

Wrap Up

By now your garden should still look bleak, but in the spring you’re going to be amazed at just how good it looks. A few hours of your time now will net you a huge return in the spring. Your garden will be the envy of all your neighbors! For any questions about your garden or the services, Koopman Lumber can offer you head on over to http://koopmanlumber.com and reach out to us. We have the products and the know-how to help your garden thrive better and more beautiful than ever before!

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