The winter weather can be tough on your lawn and landscaping, but a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Prepping your yard at least six weeks before the first freeze helps it stay healthy and attractive throughout the season; plus, a well-maintained yard is likely to bounce back quicker come spring. Here are five tips to get you started.
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- Seed and Fertilize: Lay down cool-season grass seeds, such as fescue and rye, before the cold hits. This gives the seeds the chance to germinate and develop a strong root system. Fall is also the time to fertilize turf grasses. Use a slow-release, natural fertilizer for the best results.
- Optimize and Plant: Cleaning up your yard—weeding, removing dried foliage, raking mulch etc.—not only keeps your lawn looking great, but also contributes to the health of your grass and plants as well. Additionally, this is the time to plant your winter foliage, which may consist of pansies, mums, shrubs, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, broccoli and other edibles.
- Prep Container Plants: Annual container plants generally last only one year, but you may be able to extend their lives by rooting cuttings (stripped of all but the top few leaves) in water or a potting medium. Tropical container plants should be moved indoors during the cold weather. Perennials may do best if they’re transplanted directly into your garden. Harvest and dry/freeze your herbs while you still can; they generally don’t do well indoors.
- Encourage Birds: Visiting birds are a great way to keep the insect population in check, omitting the need to spray as often. Hang up a few bird feeders to encourage the winged critters to spend time in your yard.
- Clean the Shed: The off-season is a great time to take care of your gardening tools and clean up your shed or garage. Metal tool surfaces can be rubbed with a light coating of oil and wooden handles can be rubbed with boiled linseed oil for a prolonged life. Search for any products or chemicals that have expired and dispose of them responsibly. Tidy up and replenish any supplies that are running low so you’re ready for plenty of gardening come spring.