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Robert Milani, Senior Landscape Architect, Bertog Landscape Co.

Bertog Landscape Co.

Bringing Visions to Life

Wheeling, Illinois


What are some things we can be doing now to ensure our valuable trees and shrubs enter winter in the best health possible?

Mid- to late-fall and early winter are when trees and shrubs are actively growing their roots – so there are important things that homeowners can do to ensure a healthy investment. First, just because temperatures may be cooling doesn’t mean you should stop watering. Tree roots continue to need that important moisture as they prepare for winter. Water right up until the first hard freeze.

  • Mulch shade, ornamental and fruit trees with shredded hardwood mulch and apply the mineral gypsum to tree roots that are in close proximity to salt spray from snow removal.
  • Apply an anti-desiccant to sensitive evergreens and recently installed evergreen trees and shrubs like arborvitae, boxwood, willow or holly.
  • Prune, remove and dispose of dead and dying branches from non-flowering trees and shrubs due to insect damage or disease.
  • Apply a 16-16-16 all-purpose, slow-release granular fertilizer to tree roots prior to the first snow.
  • Apply yard compost and mineral gypsum around tree roots now to improve soil fertility and drainage.
  • Wrap newly planted and sensitive trees with 4-inch tree burlap for winter protection. This helps keep them safe from deer and rodent damage and prevents barks from cracking in frost temperatures.