Fall is here, and it’s time to get your lawn and landscape plants ready for winter. By taking care of the following tasks now, you can cut down on your yard work next spring:

• Remove and compost fallen leaves and any organic debris surrounding your flowers and plants.

• Water your perennials, trees, shrubs and lawn thoroughly before the ground freezes. Even though your plants may look dormant, their roots are still growing and functioning. Plus, dry lawns are more susceptible to winter damage.

• Continue mowing weekly until your grass stops growing for the year and mulch clippings instead of bagging them. Any fallen leaves that you mulch will decompose over the winter, adding valuable organic matter to the soil.

• If you’re thinking about planting any new trees or shrubs, now is the best time to do it. Elms, maples, azaleas, lilacs and viburnums are among the recommended choices for fall planting.

• Cover your flower beds and any shallow-rooted shrubs with 4″ of mulch. This will help maintain a steady soil temperature over the winter while making it easier for the soil to retain moisture. Be sure to wait until late fall to avoid creating nesting places for mice.

Remember, a little extra effort this fall will lead to a healthier, more beautiful lawn and landscape when spring arrives!