Fall is here, and it’s time to get your lawn and landscape plants ready for winter. By taking care of the following tasks now, you can cut down on your yard work next spring:
- Remove and compost fallen leaves and any organic debris surrounding your flowers and plants.
- Water your perennials, trees, shrubs and lawn thoroughly. Even though your plants may look dormant, their roots are still growing and functioning. Plus, dry lawns are more susceptible to winter damage.
- Continue mowing weekly until your grass stops growing for the year, and mulch clippings instead of bagging them. Any fallen leaves that you mulch will decompose over the winter, adding valuable organic matter to the soil.
- If you’re thinking about planting any new trees or shrubs, now is the best time to do it. Elms, maples, azaleas, lilacs and viburnums are among the recommended choices for fall planting.
- Cover your flower beds and any shallow-rooted shrubs with 4″ of mulch. This will help to maintain a steady soil temperature over the winter while making it easier for the soil to retain moisture. But be sure to wait until late fall to avoid creating nesting places for mice.
Remember, a little extra effort this fall will lead to a healthier, more beautiful lawn and landscape when spring arrives!
PUTTING BEDS TO BED
Once the life and color of your plant beds have run their course, it is time to tuck them in for the dormant winter. First, you will want to be sure that annuals that have run their course are all removed. Remaining leaves, sticks and other debris should be cleared out as well. Besides its unsightliness, debris like this can be a breeding ground for pests.
Once the beds are empty, it is helpful to work compost or other organic fertilizer into the soil. The growing season can leave the soil’s nutrients spent – adding compost gives it a needed boost.
Finally, a light mulching offers a tidy clean look through the winter months until the spring populates your beds with life once again.