Year-end garden tips
1) Leaving perennials standing and not cutting them back may help to protect the crown. If you mulch, go ahead and cut them back.
2) Rake fallen leaves from grass. Leaves left on lawn over winter will smother and kill grass.
3) Plant spring – flowering bulbs as long as the ground is not frozen.
4) Protect evergreen trees and shrubs with an additional watering sometime this month. Consider whether to protect the plants with a burlap screen to ward off salt-laden street plowings or to shield the plant from a south face where sunny days may warm the plant enough to begin breaking dormancy too early.
5) Continue mowing the lawn until growth stops, typically when temperatures are below 40 degrees consistently. Do not lower mower height, keep settings at between 2 and 3 inches. Leaves shredded to dime size or smaller can be left on turf to act as organic fertilizer over the winter.
6) Do not mulch roses and perennials until next month. The purpose is to seal in the cold, not to protect the plants from going into dormancy.
Fall garden tips provided by Chicagoland Gardening Magazine.