"Winterscaping" Your Yard

You've given your lawn and garden TLC all spring and summer, but fall is no time to stop. Use the cooler months for "winterscaping" your yard so plants are ready to greet you, green and healthy, when spring returns next year. Consider these cold-weather gardening tips to help you put your yard to bed for the cold season and get a jumpstart on spring.

Mulching Leaves

Don't rake and bag those leaves; you've got a better use for them. Instead shred leaves with a mulching lawn mower and then use them as winter mulch on your lawn, in flower beds, around trees and shrubs, or add them to your compost pile. Finely shredding leaves also helps prevent mold.

Lawn Care

Before the first frost, make sure to fertilize your lawn to help condition it and add rich nutrients back into the soil that are needed for growth in the spring. It's also important to mow grass short at this time to deter mice or other critters from burrowing and building nests in the winter.

Flower Beds

Clean up your flower beds by pulling spent annuals and lopping off perennials to prevent disease and encourage new growth come spring. However, you can also leave seed heads for birds to feed off of in the winter. You should also weed around beds one last time, as weeds use the winter months as time to germinate and establish strong roots.

Planting Things

Depending on how soon your first frost occurs, fall can be a good time for planting bulbs, trees, shrubs, perennials, grass and cool-season vegetables, such as lettuce and broccoli. During the fall, the soil is still warm and roots can grow until the ground freezes.

By taking some time to "winterscape" your yard this fall, you'll be all set for another bountiful growing season next spring.