Winter is sometimes harsh, can we all agree on that? We find ourselves flocking indoors, escaping the cold at all costs. Even a brief walk across the parking lot, from warm car to warm store, is a dreaded trek. There are many ways we prepare for winter to ensure the most comfort on frost-bitten days. If we are willing to take the time to prep our home, even to switch out our summer wardrobe for oversized-sweaters and fuzzy socks, why wouldn’t we set aside a Saturday this fall to give our beloved, lush yards the same forethought and care. Here is Your Personal Fall Checklist, Yard Edition:
Lawn: One of the most important yard preparations for the fall and winter is to ensure your lawn can withstand snow, ice and freezing temperatures.
- Rake Leaves. Before you are able to prepare your lawn, you have to clear it of all leaves and debris. Furthermore, if fallen leaves are left unattended, the build-up of foliage can suffocate the lawn, causing the grass to die, or can retain moisture in the lawn, creating the potential for musty residue and disease to spread.
- Mow Lawn. Mow your lawn one last time on a low-cut setting. This helps to make sure the grass does not become matted during the winter, trapping moisture and causing unhealthy growth.
- Fertilize Lawn. Provide your lawn with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy throughout the winter. Do this after mowing.
- Aerate Lawn. Aerating your lawn allows snow and ice melt to seep into the grass, watering it. If the soil beneath the grass is hard and packed water may pool on the surface of your lawn, drowning it in some areas.
- Seed Bare Patches of Lawn.
Weeds: Dead or alive, pull weeds. These eye sores can lead to rot in your lawn if they trap moisture in the grass. Their beds can also serve as a home for pests and critters trying to take shelter from the cold.
- Spray Weeds. Use herbicides in the fall to kill weeds at their root, so they cannot grow back the next spring. As weather turns cold, weeds use their roots to absorb and retain extra nutrients to get through the winter. This methodology also works for killing weeds, by spraying at the prime time they intake most resources from the soil, including herbicides.
- Pull Weeds.
Plants: This is the perfect time to transplant perennials, clean your flower beds for the spring, and of course make sure your plants are protected against future winter conditions. Spring is not the only time to consider your garden, be proactive!
- Plant Spring Bulbs. Go ahead, get a head start.
- Cover Bulbs. Cover newly planted bulbs with compost or mulch as a first line of defense against winter. You can even use composted leaves for this.
- Wrap Plants. Prevent freezing by wrapping cloth around more sensitive plants near the stem.
- Divide Perennials. Now is the time to split perennials and move portions of these plants to other flowerbeds you would like them to thrive in next year.
Bushes and Trees
- Cut Dead Waste. Especially on trees, dead branches may snap under the pressure of heavy snow, damaging property.
Gutters: Clearing your gutters will allow you to rest easy knowing your roof’s drainage system is working properly. The last thing you need is for your roof to start a slow-drip leak in the dead of winter.
- Clean Gutters: Make sure gutters drain away from your house.
- Bring outdoor furniture inside for storage, especially cushions.
- Stock firewood nearby.
- Wash and refill bird feeders for migratory birds.
- Clean out leaves and other debris from underneath and around porches and decks.
- Drain water from hoses and store them in a dry place.