1. Remove bagworm egg masses from evergreen shrubs to eliminate the spring hatch from over-wintered eggs.
2. If rain is lacking, continue to thoroughly water trees, shrubs, planting beds, and lawn areas. It is especially important to keep newly planted evergreens watered.
3. Plant shallots and garlic outdoors.
4. Use a mulching blade to finely chop fallen leaves and let them decompose on the lawn. Core-aerate to reduce thatch on lawns.
5. Limit herbaceous plant material located a few feet away from the house to eliminate hiding places for insects and mice that could wind up indoors as temperatures plummet.
6. Beets, parsnips, and carrots can be covered with a thick layer of straw or leaves and left in the ground for harvest, as needed, during the winter. This may not be an option in areas with heavy vole populations.
7. Avoid the spring rush and have your soil tested now by the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory (www.soiltest.uconn.edu). Incorporate recommended amounts of limestone and fertilizers into the vegetable and flower gardens for next year’s growing season.
8. As tomatoes end their production, cut down plants, pick up any debris and put dead/diseased plant parts in the trash or take to a landfill. Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems so these are best removed from the property.
9. Weed and mulch perennial beds using a loose organic material such as bark chips or leaves to keep down weeds, preserve moisture, and give roots a longer time to grow before the soil freezes.
10. Outwit hungry squirrels and chipmunks by planting bulbs in established groundcovers. Lift and store tender bulbs, i.e., cannas, dahlias and gladiolus after first frost.
For more information contact the UConn Home and Garden Education Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-486-6271.