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Spending Time Now, Pays Big Dividends in the Spring
by Don Janssen, Extension Educator

raking leaves

November says the growing season is done and the arrival of winter is near. There are a few important yard and garden tasks to complete before winter and start looking ahead to the 2007 growing season.

Perennials and strawberries should be mulched in November, but wait until late in the month. The purpose of mulching these plants is to keep them protected from temperature fluctuations during the winter. Wait until they have gone dormant and the ground is starting to freeze. Then put down straw, leaves, evergreen boughs, or similar organic materials.

Shrubs and younger trees should be protected from rabbits and mice. Hardware cloth can be used to protect the base of young trees from mice, while chickenwire works well for rabbits. Make a loose fitting cylinder and place it around the trunks. A planting of shrubs can be enclosed with a chickenwire fence to keep rabbits out for the winter.

Lawns should be mowed until they are completely dormant. Warm weather in October combined with rainfall has caused lawns to grow, so be sure to mow again if needed. Avoid having lawns go into winter excessively long. Also be sure to continue cleaning-up leaves to avoid having piles of leaves on the lawn all winter.

Pesticides and fertilizers should be stored properly for winter. Most pesticides should be kept from freezing, and also away from sunlight, open flame and excessive heat. All this information is on the label. Keep pesticides and fertilizers sold in bags or cardboard cartons away from moisture. Also make sure all opened packages are well sealed. Pesticides and other chemicals should be stored away from children and pets.

Finally, don't forget about proper storage of equipment. Follow the owner's manual instructions for winter storage of mowers, rototillers, and other power equipment. Clean and take inventory of all tools, noting which need repair or replacement. Spending some time to address needs now pays big dividends next spring.

(This resource was added November 5, 2006 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office