Seasonal Dos & Don'ts
DO cut back finished annuals, diseased plants or any that may take over if allowed to self-seed freely.
DO cut back peony, iris and hosta foliage, which can harbour pests and diseases.
DON'T cut back perennials too early. Leave some standing through winter, as seed heads and coloured foliage can be beautiful, while seeds feed migrating birds.
DO rake and remove leaves from the lawn every week; grass needs sunlight in fall for strong growth in spring.
DON'T leave flower beds bare-mulch with fallen leaves. If possible, shred leaves first using a lawn mower.
DO continue to water if the weather is dry; perennials and woody types-especially newly planted ones and evergreens, including broadleaf types such as euonymus-need moisture to survive winter.
DO use winter mulch to help soil maintain a more even temperature. This helps plants survive where alternating periods of freezing and thawing don't provide consistent snow cover. Lay cut up boughs from Christmas trees on beds to trap snow that might otherwise blow away.
For flowering bulb information, visit www.bulb.com; advice on planting and caring for trees: The Tree Doctor by Daniel and Erin Prendergast, Key Porter, 144 pages, softcover, $26.95.
More tips on getting ready for winter: Clueless in the Garden: A Guide for the Horticulturally Helpless by Yvonne Cunnington, Key Porter, 200 pages, softcover, $21.95. See chapter 14 for a list of when to do what in the garden.