New England

October, 2004
Regional Report

Spread Compost on Lawn

Spread a thin topping of compost on the lawn after you rake up leaves, and rake again to settle the compost. If some areas aren't growing well, it might help to core aerate before spreading compost. If you do this in spring and fall, you can gradually rejuvenate a tired lawn.

Wait to Mulch Trees and Shrubs

Spread winter mulch once the ground has frozen. If you mulch too soon, it will keep the soil warmer longer, which can delay dormancy in plants that you want to go dormant so they aren't caught by surprise when winter arrives.

Mulch Bulb Beds

After you plant bulbs, spread mulch on top to help keep the soil warmer longer to allow for more root growth this fall. Roots will continue to grow until the soil temperature drops below about 40 degrees F.

Clean Bird Feeders

Before winter bird feeding begins, clean your feeders with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly.

Mulch Cold-Hardy Root Vegetables

If you have a proper root cellar or another method of storing root vegetables, go ahead and harvest them. If you don't, then wait to harvest. Instead, cover mature plantings of carrots, beets and parsnips with a thick layer of straw. This will insulate the soil and prevent the ground from freezing, and you'll be able to harvest fresh produce into early winter by moving aside the straw and digging the roots.

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