As the days shorten and the temperatures begin to cool, your thoughts should shift toward preparing your garden plants for winter. Although most plants that are native to your growing region already have the necessary means to survive winter, you can significantly increase their chance of survival by giving them a little extra protection from winter's harsh elements. With a few materials, and a little time, it is fairly easy to care for outdoor plants in winter.
Around the end of November, spread a layer of mulch around your plants in the shape of a circle. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant and extend the mulch out over the entire root zone of the plant. The mulch should be about two inches thick.
Wrap hardware cloth around the trunks of trees and enclose shrubs in fencing to prevent damage from rodents.
Drive four stakes into the ground around each plant you want to protect. The stakes should make a square shape and be six inches away from the edge of the plant. Wrap burlap or frost cloth around the stakes and secure with staples. This will prevent the dry winds of winter from desiccating, or drying out, your plants.
Remove all protection and mulch in the spring after the last freeze has occurred.