Improve your lawn
Save next year’s maintenance costs by fertilizing and reseeding your lawn right now. A good winter fertilizer will have a good balance of nitrogen and potassium with an extra dose of phosphorus to strengthen the roots. Repair the bare areas: rake the surface, discard seeds, cover them with compost and water thoroughly. Mow one last time and keep the grass short enough so that it can not be damaged by frost. Leave the cut grass on the lawn as it will break down and add more nutrients to the soil. Empty the mower’s gas tank after mowing and store it.
Spare the raking
Use your leaves as mulch instead of bagging them. They will serve as a protective cover for flowers and shrubs. You can also put them in your compost to fertilize next spring. Wait until the ground freezes to use your mulch. Usually, 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) thick is enough to protect against extreme cold.
NOTE: The only time you can not compost your leaves is when one of your trees or shrubs has a fungal infection like tar spots (black or yellow spots on the leaves). If your garden has a fungal infection, you must pick up all the leaves to prevent the infection from spreading.
Hunt unwanted visitors
Take courage with both hands and do one last weeding. Removing weeds before they have time to spread their seeds will save you from weeding in the spring and summer. Dispose of healthy weeds with compost. Prevent small rodents and other pests from moving around your garden by cutting down tall grass and cleaning under shrubs and trees.
Make your spring plantings now
Fall is a good time to introduce new shrubs or trees into your garden. To plant them, dig a hole twice as large as the root ball of the plant, gently place the root ball in the hole, cover with potting soil, water well and cover with mulch. Invest in a bulbous plant or a drill bit for the soil to plant your spring bulbs in minutes.
Prepare your equipment
Clean your pots and planters now so you do not have a mess to clean up in the spring when mildew and other diseases have invaded. Store or cover barbecue and patio furniture. Remember to clean and oil gardening tools before storing them for next year.
It’s worth the cost of hiring professionals to winter your pool and pruning hanging branches near windows, roof or electrical wires.
Let nature do
There is no need to cut everything in your garden. Leave seed-bearing perennials, such as Rufous-clover and Echinacea, as they provide food for the birds and add color. Climbers such as clematis should be cut or trimmed. The dormant plants will not need mulch, but you must put some on your roses. Remove all brown or spoiled leaves from hostas, peonies, and other large-leaved plants to limit slugs.
Water one last time
Avoid fertilizing or pruning shrubs or trees, as this may promote new growth that will be killed by frost. Remove dead or damaged branches. If summer and fall have been dry and warm, water the trees and shrubs abundantly. When finished, empty the hose and store it. Do not forget to close the outside tap!