The beauty and relaxation that your garden can provide you and your family is certainly worth all the work you put in each year.  Putting in a little extra work at the end of the season, however, can make getting your garden ready next spring easier and can help keep your plants healthy through the winter months.  Here are a few great tips that will get your garden ready to handle the cold and snow.

Clean Up: Though not a favorite task of any gardener, it is a very necessary step to getting your garden ready for winter.  Remove your annuals, empty and store any pots and containers, and give your garden one last mow.  Also, raking up all those leaves is one chore all homeowners are familiar with each autumn, but they do make great mulch for your perennials and vegetable garden, and are also a great addition to your compost.

Plant Or Relocate Trees And Shrubs: The fall is the best time to get new trees into the ground, or move those you have earmarked to be relocated.  The best strategy is to choose trees that are hardy for your zone, as it makes their survival more likely and maintenance easier.  Also, choosing evergreens and shrubs that produce berries in the winter months can make your garden more interesting and provide activity for birds and other wildlife.

Protect Your Trees: For new or young trees this is an important step you’ll not want to forget in winterizing your garden.  Covering trees and shrubs with burlap is most important in areas that have exposure to northwest winds and high sun.  Be sure, however, not to do this too early in the season, in order to prevent rot.  It is also a good idea to give your evergreens plenty of water to prevent burnout.

Test Soil And Mulch: After the ground freezes be sure to add mulch to your perennial garden.  This will protect both your soil and plants through the long winter months, as well as provide much needed nutrients for spring.  This is also a good time to test the pH of your soil to see if it is lacking any essential minerals for the next growing season.

Plant Spring Bulbs: This is also the time of year to get your spring bulbs into the ground. Be sure that you do this before the first frost, and give them plenty of water when planting them.

Unlike all the work you put into your garden in spring, winter clean-up can seem like a difficult and unrewarding task, but with this effort you will keep your garden in tip-top shape for the growing season ahead!