Fall into healthy yards - Green tips to prepare yards and gardens for winter

TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Cooler temperatures and bountiful harvests make the fall the best time to work in the yard. This is also the ideal time to enrich your soil, repair your lawn and plan your garden's future.

"A lot of people think that spring is the best time of garden and lawn care, but that's not necessarily true. If homeowners want to get their yards in tip-top shape next spring, now's the time to act," said Colleen Cirillo, program co-ordinator for Toronto and Region Conservation's Healthy Yards Program. "Homeowners can learn more about ecologically friendly yard and garden care through The Healthy Yards Program which provides watershed residents with the inspiration, information and tools required to create naturally beautiful lawns and gardens."

Here are some eco-friendly tips for fall yard and garden care:

    -  Think green: Repair lawns by overseeding and topdressing in the fall.
       Dense turf will crowd out weeds like dandelions and crabgrass.

    -  Prepare beds for winter: Cover perennials with fallen leaves and
       maintain some stems and seed heads for birds, and to trap snow for

    -  Compost: Applying compost, either store-bought or homemade, adds
       macro- and micro-nutrients to the soil. It also increases microbial
       activity that will decompose thatch and improve soil structure. Leaves
       are worth their weight in gold! Store fallen leaves in bags or bins
       near your compost pile and add a few every time you add kitchen wastes
       to the pile throughout the winter.

    -  Don't forget the birds: A healthy yard welcomes wildlife. Install bird
       feeders and plant conifers to help resident birds survive the long,
       cold winter.

    -  Planting trees and shrubs: By planting trees, shrubs and vines you can
       change the temperature in and around your house and can reduce heating
       and cooling bills which reduces your household's reliance on fossil
       fuels, and lower the household's contribution to smog and climate
       change. A row of smaller evergreens planted three to four feet away
       from a house's northern wall to act as a layer of insulation. Vines
       help to insulate exterior walls from summer's heat and winter's cold.
       Brush piles can also help provide shelter for small animals during the

    -  Fertilize: If you really want to fertilize your lawn, apply an organic
       fertilizer in the fall to improve soil fertility and increase its
       organic matter content. These slow-release products will not burn
       grass, nor will they contaminate ground and surface water.

Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City(R), where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

SOURCE Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

For further information: For further information: Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation, Tel: (416) 661-6600 ext 5632, E-mail: rcalpito@trca.on.ca, http://www.trca.on.ca/news-media

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