As the temperature drops and the days grow short, it's time to think about your landscape and how to best ready your garden for the frigid months ahead.
Protect immature trees - Place plastic or wire mesh tree guards around the trunks of your young shrubs and trees to shelter them from gnawing mice and rabbits. Be certain the tree guards are at a height taller than potential snowfall; the staff employed at your favorite garden center or hardware store will be happy to suggest options.
Continue watering trees - Trees, especially evergreens, need to be well hydrated until the ground is frozen. Since evergreens don't lose their leaves, they continue to transpire (give off water vapor) throughout the winter months. It’s important that evergreens have enough water stored to last until the ground thaws.
Rake and clear leaves - Don't let fallen leaves pile up. Clear fallen leaves from your turf weekly instead of waiting until all the leaves have fallen. Your lawn continues to need sunlight – it’s producing sugars for storage in the root system to sustain growth next spring. You can smother lawn grass and weaken it if you don’t clear leaves from your grass in the fall.
Utilize all of your fallen leaves - Shred the fallen leaves and use them as mulch in your flowerbeds. You can also add shredded leaves to the compost pile. Decomposed leaves are an inexpensive and nutritious treat for your garden.
Plant spring bulbs - There is still time to plant your spring-flowering bulbs. Bulbs can be planted any time in the fall until the ground freezes hard.
Note that snowfall can both shield and jeopardize your garden. Snow on the ground insulates the soil but snow that piles up, or icing on branches and evergreen foliage, can cause breakage. Do all you can to remove the snow before it puts your ornamental trees and shrubs at risk.
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