Continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs as weather permits. The alternate time for planting is next March before plants leaf out. Apply 2 to 4 inches of wood chips, shredded bark, leaves or compost to root zones of newly planted trees and shrubs. Be sure to pull mulch 4 inches away from tree trunks.
Continue to water trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, until the ground has frozen completely.
If rabbits, rodents or deer have been a problem in past winters, take precautions with valuable woody plants now. To keep deer from rubbing antlers on tree trunks, spread garden netting or snow fencing around abused trees. Creation of physical barriers is more effective than sprays. Deter rabbits and rodents from overwintering in gardens by cutting down their winter habitats, e.g., ornamental grass clumps or large groupings of perennials that are left up for winter interest. Protect tree trunks from gnawing rabbits by setting up 12 to 16 inches of hardware cloth tacked into the soil three inches away from the trunk.
Protect hybrid tea, floribunda, multiflora, climbing, miniature and newly planted roses late this month or when we have had several days of 20-degree weather. Mound 12 to 18 inches of lightweight peat moss or composted manure at base of roses. This mound will sink down over the winter. Prune hybrid tea rosebushes back to knee height. Other types of roses can be pruned as needed early next spring before growth begins. If desired, further protect plants by caging with chicken wire and stuffing leaves into cage; or, punching quarter-sized holes in rose cones and placing over roses. Hold cones in place with bricks or other weights.
If necessary, construct burlap windbreaks 12 inches from any newly planted, sensitive shrubs. Screens will buffer damaging effects of bitter, northwest winter winds.
Anti-dessicant sprays are not recommended for routine use on broadleafed evergreens. Some gardeners have used these products on rhododendron, azalea, boxwood or holly to protect foliage from the drying effects of wind. Research indicates the waxy coating these products create can interfere with normal transpiration in the plants' foliage.