6 Tips For Caring For Your Shrubs This Fall

older house & driveway with shrubs

Fall is well underway, bringing with it some extreme temperature changes and threats of frost. Don’t let your shrubs face the chill alone; here are 6 tips for taking care of them this fall.

1. Comfortable Blankets of Mulch

You look forward to snuggling under your blankets on a crisp fall day, and so do your shrubs. Make sure you give them a soft, warm layer of mulch to help retain moisture and trap warmth.

Pro Tip: Avoid placing mulch directly at the stems. Instead, start with a thin layer around the shrub and gradually build up the mulch to around 1” to 2” in depth around the circumference of the plant.

2. Time to Evict Pests

You may think predatory pests have moved on for the fall, but they have most likely moved in for the duration of the winter. Mites, kudzu bugs, slugs, grubs, and stink bugs are just a few unwelcome tenants in your shrubbery. Consider natural bug sprays, such as peppermint or tea tree oils, to send these pests packing.

Pro Tip: Shrubs close to your home may invite pests inside, too. If pests have damaged more than one of your shrubs, you may need to call in a professional pest control company to assess the infestation and keep bugs outside. 

3. Warm and Snuggly Shrub Protection

Protect your shrubs from ice, snow, and damaging winds by covering them with burlap, plastic, or cut tarps. Make sure to anchor the covering to the ground to ensure the shrubs stay cozy and snug until spring.

Pro Tip: Covering your shrubs is crucial if they are newer transplants. You can tie branches of established plantings by gently folding them upwards and securing them with twine.

4. Give Shrubs a New Home for the Holidays

Fall is an ideal time to plant new shrubs or transplant your established ones. The cooler weather stops the plant from focusing on its leaves, and encourages it to focus on establishing strong roots in its new space.

Pro Tip: Not all shrubs enjoy moving in the fall. These are known as “fall hazards.” Before transplanting, make sure the shrubs you intend to plant or move will thrive if moved, especially here in the northeastern part of the US.

5. Show Your Shrubs You Really Care With a Fall Inspection

The start of cooler weather is the perfect time to give your shrubs a thorough inspection. Check for dead or dying branches, uneven or abnormal yellowing of leaves, insect damage, and rot. 

Pro Tip: If you see mushrooms growing close to your shrub’s trunk, dig to the roots of the plant and make sure they haven’t rotted.

6. Oh, Deer

Deer aren’t considered pests in quite the same way as insects, but they do enjoy snacking on your greenery. If you intend to cover your shrubs for the winter, the covers can serve a dual purpose by protecting the plants from hungry deer as well as harsh weather. If not, consider applying a deer repellent, or putting deer netting over your shrubs to protect them from becoming a tasty deer salad.

Pro Tip: Some deer repellants also act as a spray barrier to protect leaves from drying out in the winter. This effect is called an antidessicant, and can be a benefit to using repellents.

Choose Your Perfect Fall Plantings Now

RELS is your home for all your garden needs including mulch, decorative stone, and hardscaping materials, and a wide variety of sturdy, fall-ready shrubs to add an accent to any landscaping design. Planting now ensures a shrub that’s ready to thrive and bloom in the spring. Find yours today at our Frederick or Silver Spring locations.