In many parts of the country, winter signals less activity in the lawn and garden with fewer maintenance chores as turf, trees, and some plants go dormant. You might not want to put your gardening tools up just yet, though, as there are still some important steps to take to get your yard ready for winter weather. Here are some tips for prepping your lawn and garden for the coldest season:
1. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, have it drained and winterized to protect against damage from frozen water in the pipes. If you need to call a professional for help, don’t wait until the last minute as many sprinkler system technicians book up quickly with winterizing service requests.
2. Mow the grass for the last time but take care not to cut the turf too short if you’re in an area where snow accumulates. Leaving the clippings on the lawn can help return nutrients to the soil.
3. Fertilizing the lawn before winter can help protect it while the grass is dormant and may also help the green color return earlier in the spring. Ask your local gardening center for the best fertilizer for your grass type.
4. Prune perennials and remove dead limbs and branches from trees and shrubs.
5. Rake the last of the autumn leaves and remove any debris from your lawn and flower beds. Be sure to remove leaves from driveways and walkways to help prevent slippery surfaces when the leaves get wet from rain and snow.
6. Pull up any annual flowers, plants, and vegetables that are not cold-hardy.
7. Clean patio furniture and store it if you won’t be using it during the winter. Inspect cushions for wear and mildew to see if they need replacing.
8. For added winter and temperature protection, put mulch around the bases of trees and shrubbery.
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9. Remove any standing water that could freeze, or that could be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes.
10. Cover or store grills, recreational toys, sporting accessories, and other items that may not be used until spring.
11. Empty gardening containers made from materials that could freeze and crack when temperatures drop. Wrap the containers and store them in covered, warm spaces for the season.
12. Sweep patios, porches, and decks before snowfall. Fill any cracks, holes, or gaps to protect surfaces that will hold snow for long periods.
Now is also a great time to clean and organize the lawn and gardening materials, tools, and products you keep in your garage and storage spaces. Clean and sharpen tools before putting them away and take inventory of the products you have on hand. Winter is a great time to watch for sales on items that need replacing or replenishing. When growing season comes around next spring, you’ll be glad you took the time to get everything in order, and you’ll have a head start on planting and cultivating your lawn and garden.