Keep new plantings well watered until the ground freezes. Evergreens, both newly planted and established, benefit from fall irrigation to reduce the likelihood of winter burn.
Protect trees and shrubs from winter browsing by deer and rabbits. Bird netting wrapped around arborvitae (Thuja spp. and cvs., Zones 2–8) works well to prevent damage from deer, while chicken wire or hardware cloth cages at least 2 feet high exclude rabbits from some of their favorite shrubs, such as chokecherry (Aronia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8), roses (Rosa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), and viburnums (Viburnum spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9). Use cages with tighter mesh (openings less than 1/4 of an inch) to protect tree trunks from girdling by voles.
Pot up some bulbs for forcing this winter. Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus, Zones 8–11) and amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp. and cvs., Zones 8–10), sprouted and ready to bloom, are great for holiday gifts and décor.
Edge sidewalks, and cut back plants that are overhanging bed edges to make snow removal from walkways easier.
—Erin Presley is a horticulturist at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.
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