Winterizing your lawn now could mean a healthier yard in the spring.
- Mow the lawn until the first frost, raking up clippings. This keeps roots from being smothered during the winter.
- Trim perennial flowers such as black-eyed Susans, daylilies, and peonies, leaving a one-inch stem to save the roots for next year. Rake leaves from flower beds so they don’t rot and attract unwanted bugs.
- Dig up summer-blooming bulbs like calla lilies, dahlias, or gladioli, especially if you expect a killing frost (when it stays below 32 degrees overnight). Store bulbs in brown paper bags in a cool but not freezing place like a basement until planting time in early spring.
- Pull out dead annuals (impatiens and begonias), plus most plants in vegetable gardens. Otherwise they will rot there. Compost all but tomato plants which are more likely to have disease. Squash and pumpkin vines take more than a year to break down.
- Don’t pull up herbs. Cut them back as you do perennials. Many herbs will return.
- Prune diseased branches from perennial shrubs. They’ll either have white or black sports or look gnarled. Remove dried-out boughs from evergreen bushes. To prevent heavy snow from snapping off branches, tie evergreens by securely wrapping with twine like a candy-cane stripe from the bottom of each bush to the top.
- Mulch perennial beds with hardwood or cedar chips to keep roots insulated.
- Bring any outdoor pots or planters indoors, and put them by a window if you want the plants to last. If you plan to replace potted annuals, rinse out the pots, and store upside down so water drains and doesn’t cause them to crack if frozen.