With the start of the school year quickly approaching, your life is about to get more hectic. This means running your kids to sports practice to helping with homework. Activities around the house, like caring for your plants, might be pushed to the back burner. However, if you want your plants to make it to the next year, it is important that you take the right steps to prepare your plants for winter. It doesn’t have to be a big job, and by following some helpful tips, your plants will be healthy and ready to grow next spring.

Remove Problem Plants

The first step you should take when preparing your garden or plants for winter is to remove any plants that might already be dying. These include plants with disease or insect problems. You don’t want these diseases or pests wintering in your plants, and make sure you get rid of them for good. Bag or burn diseased plants – never toss them into a compost pile.

Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs

There are certain items that need to be planted in the fall, including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Proper planting now will prepare for a beautiful spring garden if done correctly. Remember that each bulb should be buried at a depth that is three times the bulb height. So, a bulb that is one-inch-tall should be planted three inches into the ground. While the bulb doesn’t need water, it is a good idea to water the soil so that animals will have a more difficult time digging them up.

Cut Back Perennials

When preparing your perennials for the upcoming cold weather, you’ll want to cut them back, leaving them about four to six inches tall. However, it is recommended that you wait until after the first killing frost to do this. The energy of the upper plants will flow into the root systems, where it is then stored for the winter. If you pair these plants back too early, these energy stores won’t make it to the roots.

Protect Your Rosebushes

While newer shrub roses won’t necessarily require winter protection, older hybrid floribundas and hybrid teas may. You may want to purchase rose cones in order to keep them safe during the colder winter months. Just make sure you remove them in early spring.

Prevent Trunks Against Sunscald

If your yard has young trees, it is important to take steps to protect their trunks from sunscald. Use paper tree wrap, beginning an inch below soil level and wrapping up to the lowest branches. You can use duct tape to adhere the wrap. This is an especially good solution for tree species with thin bark, as sap that freezes at night can cause the bark to split.

Don’t let all of the time and energy you spent in your garden go to waste as the summer ends. By taking steps to prepare your plants for winter, you’ll be ahead of the game when the gardening season begins next spring.