With the cooler fall weather upon us, it's time to get outside and prepare your garden for the onset of a Canadian winter. Maybe you haven't spent that much time in the garden over the past few weeks, with kids going back to school, or you have managed to get away and spend some time off at the cottage, but there are a lot of little tasks that need to be completed to get your garden ready for winter.

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs, cut back perennials, remove annuals and get your lawn healthy for next spring. Remember to keep watering. Trees and shrubs that are deprived of water now will be easily stressed in the winter. Below is a handy guide to fall clean-up tasks.


  • Collect seed and herbs for drying.
  • Add compost or manure to garden beds.
  • Cover water features with netting to collect falling leaves.
  • Check houseplants for pests, then start to move indoors.
  • Plant new trees and shrubs, to give them at least six weeks before frost.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs.
  • Clean bird feeders, gardening tools.
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.
  • Bring in any clay pots.
  • Pull weeds before they go to seed to reduce the number of weeds next year.
  • Fertilize your lawn.


  • Transplant shrubs or young trees to new locations.
  • Cut diseased areas out of perennials. Do not compost.
  • Rake and compost any fallen leaves.
  • Clean up garden debris. Remove all vegetable plants and fallen fruit.
  • Remove dead annuals from the garden, after a frost.
  • Cut back perennial foliage to discourage overwintering pests. Leave flowers with seeds for the birds.
  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.
  • Sharpen lawnmower blade and pruners.
  • Trim tall grass away from trees and corners of your home to discourage small rodents from creating nests.
  • Dig up tender bulbs such as dahlia, canna, and gladiola. Wrap them in moist material and store them in a cool, dark space.
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