Prune climbing roses and fasten them to their supports so they don’t get whipped around in winter winds. Clean and store garden furniture, stakes, cages, and seasonal temporary trellises. Many pots are now good-looking plastic that can survive the winter, even if they remain filled with soil. High-fired stoneware will not break either. If you want to ensure the safety of expensive terra cotta pots, dump their soil in the compost pile, wash and sterilize them with a 10 percent bleach solution and let them dry in the sun before storing them (upside down if stored outdoors). Store pesticides and fertilizer in a dry, locked area that’s labeled for dangerous chemicals.
Deer are the biggest outdoor pest in some areas. Start spraying evergreens now with a deer repellent or wrap individual shrubs in the kind of black netting used to keep birds off berry bushes. Protect young fruit trees from gnawing mice by wrapping the base of the trunks with commercial tree wrap or 18-inch-tall metal tree guards. If you notice swarms of identical small white moths attracted to porch lights in early winter, you probably have winter moths. Their immature inchworms can cause a lot of damage in spring so contract now, before arborists get busy, for spraying the biological pesticide Spinosad next April.
For the birds
Setting up a winter bird feeder in front of your favorite window is a great way to stay in touch with the outdoors while staying warm indoors. Fill it with black-oil sunflower seeds to attract pretty red cardinals.
Carol Stocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.