Take note of these cold-season tips to be sure your garden is ready for winter:
Apply an organic mulch to beds and borders. This will keep the ground frozen during winter warm spells, so that shallow-rooted plants and recent plantings aren't heaved out of the ground. Be sure to wait until the ground freezes to apply the mulch; otherwise small rodents might build nests in it and nibble your plants all winter. In areas where the ground does not freeze, a winter mulch is still beneficial, because it protects the ground from being compacted or leached of nutrients by winter rains.
Mow your lawn short on the last mow of the season.
Line up an arborist to evaluate and trim your trees this winter or early next spring.
Bring frost-sensitive pots, such as terra-cotta pots, into a garage, cellar or shed.
Drain water from hoses and store them inside on a hose reel or loosely coiled on the floor or a shelf. Hanging them from a hook can create lasting kinks.
Turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets to prevent the pipe freezing and bursting.
Keep seasonal tips close at hand all year long with Horticulture's Limited-Edition 2012 Wall Calendar.
Extend spring and fall—the information is in A Gardener's Guide to Frost.
Get more advice on winter-ready tasks in Horticulture's "Preparing for Winter," a downloadable booklet just $3.99.