Winterize Your Yard Clean Air Tips

Thursday, October 15, 2015 - Even though our summer weather is lingering this year, fall is in the air. Make the most of the final days of sunshine to prepare your yard for winter.

Mow the lawn until the first frost.

And rake up clippings - this keeps roots from being smothered over the winter.

Trim perennial flowers (such as black-eyed Susans, daylilies, or peonies).

Leave a one-inch stem to save the roots for next year; also rake leaves from flower beds, so they do not rot and attract unwanted bugs.

Click to read more tips for winterizing your yard.

Get rid of dead plants.

Pull out dead annuals plus most plants in your veggie garden, or else they will rot there. Compost all but tomato plants, which are more likely to have diseases, and squash or pumpkin vines, which take more than a year to break down.

Do not pull up herbs.

Cut them back as you do perennials. Many (thyme, oregano, and chives, for example) will return.

Prune diseased perennial shrubs (rhododendron, azalea, and hydrangea) branches.

They will either have white or black spots or look gnarled. Remove dried-out boughs from evergreen bushes. To prevent heavy snow from snapping off branches, tie evergreens by wrapping with twine securely (but not too tightly) like a candy-cane stripe from the bottom of each bush to the top.

Mulch perennial beds.

Use hardwood or cedar chips to keep roots insulated.

Bring inside any outdoor pots or planters.

Put them by a window, if you want the plants (geraniums or ferns) to last. If you plan to replace potted annuals, rinse out the pots and store upside down so water drains and does not cause them to crack if frozen.