Myers: Preparing your landscape for winter

Leaving healthy perennials like coneflower stand for winter provides food for birds, winter interest and homes for many beneficial insects.

F

all is a season of transition, and that

includes your gar-

den. Make the most

of beautiful fall days to enjoy your garden and prepare your landscape for the winter ahead.

Put fall leaves to work in your landscape improving your soil, reducing maintenance, and creating winter homes for toads, frogs, and beneficial insects. Mow over the leaves that land on the lawn. It may take a couple passes, but once the fall leaves are the size of a quarter, you can leave them on the lawn to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

Or mow, bag and add the shredded leaves to annual flowers or vegetable gardens. Dig several inches of shredded leaves into the top 8 to 12 inches of garden soil. The leaves will decompose over winter, adding organic matter to the soil. Still more leaves; add them to the compost pile. Mixing this carbon-rich plant debris to greens like plant-based kitchen scraps, manure, and worm castings makes for great compost.

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