As fall progresses and temperatures drop, it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. It may seem like all activity has stopped in the garden, but a lot is still going on underneath the soil until it freezes. The following are some steps to take to get your yard through the winter and ready for next spring.

Keep watering.  Generally speaking, a lawn should get an inch of water every 14 to 21 days. The ground should be moist as it heads toward winter, but not soggy, which could encourage mold.

Go easy on the pruning. As a general rule, give your loppers and shears the autumn off. Pruning promotes growth, and you don’t want to encourage growth when plants are preparing to go dormant for winter.

Transplant trees. Autumn is a great time to transplant trees and shrubs. By planting trees in the fall, you have a much longer season for the tree roots to get established while avoiding other stresses such as heat. Trees benefit because they are putting all of their energy into root growth.

Clean-up the beds. Flower beds don’t need a ton of work, but there are some things you can do. Clean out perennials with a lot of dieback on them. With the amount of rain in early spring, any dead growth can keep a lot of moisture in the soil, promoting rot in plants that have heavy root systems.

Mulch. Renew the mulch in flower beds, especially the top two or three inches of plants’ root crowns, because that protects a marginal plant from hard freezes. That’s where all of your new growth is going to come back so the mulch adds a layer of protection.

Think spring. Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring. They’re not very expensive, and they give you something to look forward to.

Feed the lawn. Despite what many people might think, autumn, not spring, is perhaps the most vital time to fertilize your lawn. Mow your grass short as we enter winter. Shorter grass will discourage snow mold from forming under the snow.

Plan changes now. Document your existing site through plans, photos, and notes. Reflect on the aspects you enjoyed this year and those you would like to change for next year. Consider getting a professional design plan now so you can be ready to implement plantings come spring.