Avant Gardening

Preparing Your Garden for Winter!

It’s that time of year again to put the garden to bed! You’ve worked hard all season to keep your landscape looking fantastic and it is almost time to call it quits… BUT before you trade out your trowel for your snow shovel try to complete a few more things to make our Wisconsin winters a little easier!

Below is a list of activities that we recommend doing to prep for winter:

Perennials – Cut most back to ground, but consider leaving Coneflowers, Rudbeckia and other plants that have seed heads that the birds will feed on throughout the winter. Why not keep some life in your winter garden with fluttering birds?!


Grasses – Leave for winter interest, many also have vital seeds for our birds. Leave Carex spp. as is, although they are not an upright grass that will provide additional interest, the little bit of decaying grass cover on the crown of the plant will help it survive through winter better.

Leaves – Clean up as much as possible, especially in areas where you know you have disease issues. Also remove them from hardscape surfaces (such as patios, walkways, landings) depending on the type of tree the leaves can sometimes leave stains on these surfaces.

Annual Flowers – It is best to remove and dispose of to make things easier in spring (Yes – even those mums you feel like you just planted…) plus, this gives you the opportunity to create a winter annual display!

Winter Displays – Using a diversity of evergreen boughs, Dogwood branches and Curly Willow you can make great arrangements in your planters over the winter. Do this as late as possible but before everything freezes, typically around Thanksgiving.


Roses – Protect the sensitive ones with mulch and remember to prune back in Spring.

Turf – Winterization fertilizer can be applied any time. Clear your lawn of leaves and mow shorter to reduce disease activity over the winter (as well as first thing in the spring) Don’t forget to core aerate your lawn as well!

Evergreen Trees & Shrubs – No more pruning until Spring.

Deciduous Trees & Shrubs – Most can be pruned at any time this time of year. We like to wait until the leaves have fallen off and then work on structural pruning.

Driveway & Sidewalks – Prune back all plant material hanging over to make that dreading snow removal a little easier! Speaking of snow removal… Are you just sick of doing it this year? Contact Avant for a quote by clicking here!

Ponds & Water Features – Pull the pump out and clean out any leaves or other debris. If you have fish and plan to keep them in pond, install an aerator and heater to keep the pond from completely freezing over. The open water will draw more birds to your garden as well.

Spring Blooming Bulbs – Install now until spring, as long as you can get them in the ground, you can plant them!

By completing these tasks, your landscape will be well winterized and will get you off to a great start in the spring. Happy Winter-izing!