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Things to do in the garden this week

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Lawn fertilizer
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Mulch strawberries after several nights near 20 degrees, but before temperatures drop into the teens. A loose covering of straw just thick enough to hide plants from view is sufficient protection.

Apply a final light fertilization to cool season (bluegrass, fescue, rye) lawn grasses now.

Wait until the ground freezes before applying mulches to perennials and bulbs. The purpose of winter mulches is to seal in cold, rather than keeping the soil warm.

Place a layer of chicken wire on the soil surface where tulips are planted to discourage marauding squirrels. Pin edges down with wire staples and cover the wire with several inches of mulch. Both foliage and flowers will grow up through the wire gaps next spring.

Winterize roses after temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Place a 6- to 10-inch deep layer of well-drained mulch over the crown of each bush. Prune bush roses sparingly, just enough to shorten overly long stems to prevent storm damage. Climbers should not be pruned at this time.

Run the engines of gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and tillers dry before storing these tools for winter.

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