We planted aucubas and hollies in the spring and kept them watered all summer, and they’re doing well. Do we need to water them in winter, too?
Spring-planted shrubs that received regular water should be well-established by fall, so you can cut back on the amount of water they receive. But don’t neglect them completely. It’s a good idea to replenish the mulch, adding enough so that it’s about three inches thick. Mulch holds moisture in the soil, and also keeps it from freezing and thawing as temperatures swing from cold to warmer and back again. Remove any dead or diseased leaves from under the shrubs before you add mulch, and remember not to pile mulch up against the trunk.
One other winter grooming tip: If you have deciduous trees in the area that have dropped leaves onto the shrubs, take time to remove the leaves, especially if there are so many that they would block the sun.
As I mentioned in last week’s question-and-answer, a yard-full of leaves is a good source of mulch for those shrubs. Chop them with the mower before you spread them on the ground under the shrubs.