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Discover the Natural Beauty
9415 Miller Rd NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110





Date: October/November 2023

As the minutes of sunlight and temperatures begin to drop, plants slow down and divert their energy to winter survival. There are things we can do to help our plant friends prepare for the long winter and emerge in the spring extra strong:

  • Do a light mulching of your garden beds with compost. Compost helps add organic matter to soils that have been depleted by all the watering we needed to do over a long dry summer. This layer also protects roots from extreme cold and as we move into the next year, holds onto moisture and keeps the roots cool.
  • In general, you don't need to fertilize established plants at this time of year, because you don't want to encourage new growth that might be damaged by frost or a deep freeze. However, for established woody plants, applying Soil Science Bloom Driver or EB Stone Ultra Bloom encourages root and flower growth for the upcoming season, especially for lilacs, camellias, rhododendrons and fruit trees. These products have a low amount of nitrogen but high enough phosphorous.
  • It's a good idea to give your lawn one more dose of fertilizer before winter. This helps give roots a boost so your lawn comes back stronger in the spring. Pick a time that's not too rainy (or the fertilizer will just wash away) and before a deep freeze when the grass is dormant.
  • Before we get into our storm season, it's good to thin out tree and shrub branches that may be encroaching on your paths, driveways or above your house. As long as you're not removing more than 20% of the overall volume of your plants, you are not setting back their health. It’s better to make those pruning cuts yourself rather than having the wind or wet snow do the trimming for you.
  • If you have veggies growing, such as leafy greens, you should consider covering them with a cold frame or cloche to extend the season.
  • Consider getting some Reemay or protective material (Harvest Guard) to cover your tender plants before a cold spell. Also, you may want to move potted tender plants to a protected area before such a spell.