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Stop pruning, keep watering

A fir, a hydrangea and a low-growing sedum on a manicured site.

Pruning plants, particularly trees and shrubs, can cause the plant to react by putting on new growth at the cut point. This new growth is unlikely to fully emerge in time to sufficiently harden off (go dormant) before cold temperatures hit. Unless you have to prune off a broken branch or a branch that is blocking a door or window, avoid the urge to prune.

But keep on watering when rainfall is insufficient (which it has been in the central and southern parts of the state). Water up until the ground is frozen (or you have to turn off your outdoor spigot). Consider emptying your rain barrel onto the root zone of your favorite evergreen tree or shrub. These plants must have enough moisture to hold onto their needles or leaves through the winter.

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