Use this timely guide to prepare your garden for winter. From
Better Homes and Gardens
Garden, Deck and Landscape Magazine
• Clear away debris from the base of rosebushes. Fallen leaves can
hold diseases that might overwinter.
• Water, water, water. Give all of your plants a good drink,
especially your trees. Their roots need plenty of moisture to make it
through the upcoming months.
• Amend your soil. Get the ground ready for next year's beds and
your fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding fertilizer.
• Shop for bulbs. Order from catalogs or visit garden stores early
for best selection.
• Plant shrubs and evergreens. Early fall planting gives new plants
enough time to get their roots established before winter.
• Plant fall annuals. As your summer blooms fade, add color to your
garden with fall annuals such as mums, pansies, and ornamental kale.
• Lower the height on your mower. Grass grows more slowly in fall,
but it still needs to be trimmed to prepare for winter. A lower cutting
height helps the soil dry out more quickly in spring.
• Feed the birds. Don't forget your feathered friends -- their food
supply grows scarce in fall.
• Divide and cut back perennials. Try rearranging plants if they
haven't been working in their current location.
• Rake and mulch. Left unattended, fallen leaves will suffocate your
lawn and beds. Shred them and they make great mulch.
• Dig up summer bulbs. Store dahlias and Caladium in peat moss for
• Get bulbs in the ground before the big freeze. Plant your favorite
bulbs now for colorful springtime blooms.
• Force bulbs indoors for winter color. Bulbs such as narcissus and
hyacinth work well.
• Feel your lawn. Don't let your lawn go into winter without the
nutrients it needs to battle the long sleep.
• Empty hoses, fountains, and drip-irrigation systems. Ensure any
standing water is removed from your watering equipment; store items in a
• Bring tender container plants indoors. Remove dead foliage and
break up any hardened soil before nursing cherished plants indoors for
• Clean up the veggie bed. Remove weeds and debris so pests won't
settle into a winter home in your garden.
• Dig up annuals. Spent and dead, your summer annuals can now
nourish the compost heap.
• Protect cold-sensitive plants. Shrubs, roses, and perennials that
might succumb to blasts of cold should be protected with mulches or
screens. Place these protective barriers after the first freeze.