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Prepare Your Garden for Winter

The crisp, sunny days of fall are coming to an end and the first days of early winter are just around the corner. If you haven't already, be sure to take care of a few 'end of the season' tasks that will benefit your garden greatly.

Weed - remove any persistent weeds (chickweed, garlic mustard, dandelions, thistle and ground ivy), they're the plants that are still vibrant green while perennials are going dormant

Clean up - clear out any garden debris, especially around the base/crown of your shrubs and perennials

Remove - cut out any diseased, moldy or pest infested foliage; then dispose of it in the garbage, don't throw it into your compost bin

Cut back - trim perennials to the ground now or just after a hard frost; leave any unusual seed heads and ornamental grasses that provide winter interest

Water - continue watering landscape plants if we do not receive sufficient amounts of rain, especially evergreens before ground freezes (see article below)

Add - spread 1" of organic matter (compost) over beds to protect and feed plants and soil over the winter months

Rake - shred fallen leaves with a lawn mower and place around evergreens, shrubs, perennials, and roses to the depth of 1-2"; stay clear of the crowns

Drain - disconnect and drain garden hoses; shut off inside connections to outside water spigots if necessary

With these tasks now taken care of, you can rest assured that your garden is ready for whatever weather this winter will bring. 

Reprinted from MODE Landscape Design Vol 5: Prepare Your Garden for Winter, November 2011

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