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Here is why you should keep your leaves in your garden and not prune roses in the fall

It is best to keep your leaves in your garden after they fall.

DENVER — Put away your pruners or hide them from your spouse. Now is not the time to prune anything. Pruning encourages new growth. That can be disastrous. In the case of roses, for example, new growth may sprout during warm fall days. That growth is vulnerable to freezing. When it dies, it may take the whole plant with it. 

Pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs is also a mistake. They set their buds months ago. Pruning now cuts off the flowers and the plants don't have time to form new ones before spring. Tree trimming to prevent winter damage is fine, however. 

Avoid cutting back perennials and ornamental grasses. That should be done in late winter or early spring. Beheading ornamental grasses defeats the whole purpose. They're ornamental in all four seasons, with winter being one of their best. 

The only time to cut back irises is when you divide and transplant them. The best time for that is in June, right after they bloom. Iris stay green over most of the winter. Cutting off their solar collectors doesn't make sense. 

If you've completed your vegetable harvest, store peppers, eggplant and cucumbers in the refrigerator. Lay out tomatoes on newspaper. Don't pile them up or allow them to touch to avoid rot. 

Never send your leaves to a landfill. Allow them to remain in beds and borders. Mow them off the lawn; a mulching mower is great for this because it feeds the grass. Compost leaves that you remove from sidewalks and drives. If you can't compost, check with your municipality about pickup for bagged leaves. Long paper bags meant for recycling are ideal for leaves. Leaves aren't a nuisance. As they crumble and decompose, they're the key to good soil. 

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