+The Old Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a drier and colder than usual winter. We have already lost a lot of plants, trees, and shrubs due to the drought and extreme temperatures the past few years. If you look closely at the photo above you can see where dead branches have been cut out. That was a result of the minus 20 degrees we had a few years back. Everything above the ground on these shrubs died but it came back from the roots. Many of our shrubs did not make it and had to be replaced. This year in order to protect our trees and shrubs I am starting now to cover the soil around them with mulch. This will help keep the moisture in and protect the roots from extreme cold temperatures. There are many types of mulch available at no cost such as leaves, grass clippings, wood chips etc. Every time I see bags of leaves set out for the garbage truck to pick up I have to resist the urge to stop and take them home. Fortunately I have a near endless supply of free wood chips. I will cover that in a later post. It isn’t too late to collect grass clippings this fall and I am sure you can get bags of leaves from friends or off the curb (but ask permission first). Start getting ready now to keep your plants alive.