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With winter just around the corner many amateur gardeners often resign themselves to watching the leaves fall, putting away the lawn mower and dreaming of a time when the temperatures begin to rise and they can once again get their hands dirty.  While the season is short, there is still much that can be done to protect you hard work this year and prepare for next spring.

The landscape naturally goes dormant during the winter months and uses this time to rest and build up energy for the spring growing season.  Now is actually a great time to mulch around trees, shrubs, and other landscaping plants, including in potted plants with a product such as Rubberific Mulch.  Not only will this mulch insulate the plants during the colder temperatures and keep water evaporation low, your landscape will look great on the very first day the snow melts and the robin’s return.  It is important to have the proper amount of mulch in your beds as mulch helps keep the soil at a more even temperature during periods when there is no consistent snow cover.  If your mulch levels are low and temperatures rise for a few days or weeks during the winter, the roots of your plants will begin to move toward the surface and then when the temperatures fall they are at risk of dying and so are the plants come spring.

In addition to mulching your yard here are four tips that we should all follow to start next year off on the right foot.

Stay hydrated: Think of this time as something similar to squirrels storing nuts for the long winter ahead – plants are exposed to the elements 24/7/365 and need the tools to survive, especially water.  Even though many of us will see snow blanketing the yard, the winter season is actually known as a very dry season, now is the time to water your plants, trees and shrubs with enough water to make it through to next year, so keep the hose running for a few more weeks to be sure.

Break out the rake: Falling leaves are about the only real color that we have in fall, but they are not a friend to your law.  Each week, rake and remove leaves from the lawn as it is important for grass to get sunlight during the fall in order for it to grow back strong and vibrant in the spring.

Plant, plant, and plant some more: Although a lot of gardening is done early in the spring, fall is another great time to start planting, especially in preparation for a splash of early color the following year.  Some ideas would be to plant bulbs such as tulips or daffodils and perennials so that they have time to establish roots before the winter.

Plan:  It is never too early to start thinking about what you want your yard to look like next year.  For most of us we garden by trial and error – some things work, and others do not.  Take time to learn and while the snow is falling sketch out a plan so that you can hit the ground running – the earlier you start the season the more time you will have to enjoy the fruits of your labor.