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Lawn and Garden Maintenance for Fall and Winter

Is your yard ready for the cold weather? Our infographic reveals simple lawn and garden tips for the fall and winter.

When cold weather sets in, lawns go dormant, leaves fall and gardens transition. But plenty of flowers and veggies can grow well into the fall to give your outdoor space a boost of color and beauty.

Fall is also the time to do some basic maintenance to help ensure that your lawn is nice and green once spring rolls around.

Here’s how to prep your lawn and garden so they’re ready when the temperatures start to dip and the cold winds blow.

Lawn Care

6 Cold-Weather Lawn and Garden Care Tips

1. Prevent snow mold on your lawn.

• Cut your grass shorter than you normally would in the summer to avoid snow mold. This fungus can show up after a thaw if your grass is too long and matted.

• Don’t let leaves pile up. A thick layer of leaves can damage your grass during winter when everything is blanketed in snow.

• You can mow your leaves — just make sure you have the grass catcher bag attached. Use those leaves as a cozy layer of mulch for your garden or add them to your compost pile.

• Let the last, sparse layer of leaves enrich your lawn during the winter months. Mow with the blade at the highest level or on the mulch setting, and let those leaf shards help nourish your lawn over the winter.

• Going low-tech (good old-fashioned raking) has an advantage over mowing or leaf blowing. You’ll dethatch your lawn at the same time. Excess thatch can lead to snow mold.

2. Add color with fall annuals.

• Autumn is all about blazing color, so plant dramatic, colorful annuals. Pansies, violas and sweet alyssum add bursts of color to your garden.

• Tip: Wait until after Labor Day to buy your annuals. Your garden store might be offering discounts.

3. Plant fast-growing fall vegetables.

• Lettuce, radishes and green onions can harvest in a month or less.

• Spinach, carrots, cucumbers and zucchini can be ready to harvest in 50 to 60 days.

• Beets, cabbage, onions and peas can withstand temps as low as 20ºF.

• Kale, spinach and collard greens can survive dips below 20ºF — even into the single digits.

4. Winterize your vegetable garden.

• Investigate frost blankets at the garden store. They can protect plants all the way down to 24ºF.

• Remove dead, decaying plant matter and pop it in your compost bin. But leave your dead stalks in the garden. They’ll act as makeshift mulch to help protect your perennials’ roots.

• When in doubt, especially if you live in a harsh winter climate, mulch. This will help protect your soil from the cold.

5. Keep an eye out for insects.

• Garden pests can lurk in plant debris and weeds, so clean them up.

• Slugs thrive in moist environments, such as under pots and in mulch. In the right conditions, slugs lay eggs over the winter, which then hatch in the spring.

6. Plant bulbs for spring.

• Now’s the time to plant tulips, daffodils, crocuses, grape hyacinths, summer snowflakes and other bulbs.