When the last leaves fall, will your yard and garden beds be ready for winter? Taking the time now to get ready for the seasons ahead are the best way to yield ideal results for your garden.
Preparing your garden and yard for winter is primarily about cleaning up and covering up. You will be best served to do things in steps so that you can make the best use of your time and equipment on hand. Cleaning up the dead trees or fallen branches and then using those for mulch in the spring is a fitting example of proper planning. So, before you go ahead and get out the rakes and buy the wood chipper, sit down and make a plan.
As the temperatures drop and fall progresses, the plants that are not prepared for dormancy will not survive the winter weather. But proper planning can eliminate that from happening. The cool weather provides an excellent time to create a cold frame, dig, box in raised beds, and make general repairs. It is likely something you won’t be able to complete in one day or weekend, so preparation will allow you to take a few days and have spring time payoff with new blooms and gorgeous soil.
Here are some tips to help in prepping & cleaning your yard & garden beds for winter.
Collect Fallen Leaves
Raking up and mulching the leaves prevent them from smothering the grass. It’s especially important with large leaves that can smother the ground and do more damage than good. Remember that in fall, grass still requires sunlight. Sunlight helps them create sugars to store in the root system and aid in growth next spring. If you don’t have a rake, you can use your mower to chop them up and then leave them to break down.
Clean Up Your Yard
Because winter is coming doesn’t mean that your garden should appear disheveled. Cleaning the yard not only gives your garden a neater appearance, but it also reduces the probability of pests hibernating in the debris that may cause problems next year. Take time to:
- Cut back spent perennials
- Remove dead annuals
- Pick up fallen fruit
- Prune back dead growth
Collect Seeds & Store Bulbs
Any favorite annual that fascinated you this year? Why not collect the seeds, store, and use them next year? After collecting the seeds put them in labeled paper envelopes stuffed inside a glass jar and then store indoors in a dry area. Preparing these seeds now will not only save you money in the spring but also provide you with options that might not be available in the nurseries and greenhouse come springtime.
Some regions experience extremely cold and harsh winters temperatures. If you live in such areas, you can save summer bulbs for use the upcoming year by digging them up and storing in a brown bag. All you need to do is dig them up immediately after the first fall frost, dry out the root structures for a couple of days and then shake off any excess soil. Afterwards, you can store them for winter in sawdust or peat moss in a dark, cool basement or area of your house that has limited warmth and sunlight.
Trees, Shrubs, & Bushes
Wrap tree trunks, cover greenery with burlap bags and do pruning now so that your larger landscape features are able to successfully survive the winter cold and come back in the spring better than the year before. Take full consideration of each plant from the roots to the new growth and tend to it as needed. A quick search on “winterizing” that particular plant name will give you the steps needed to protect it.
Shredded leaves or wood chips are excellent when it comes to mulching. Adding mulch is a terrific way to go about maintaining even soil temperatures. Learning more about how to use wood chips as winter mulch, will enable you to utilize the material that you may likely have on hand. When using wood chips, remember to layer several inches of compost on a newspaper and then place your wood chips on top.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn allows vital nutrients and water to get into the soil before the winter season sets in. There are shoe and machine options for aerators that will assist you with the task.
Enjoy the fall weather while it is here, prep for winter days, and watch your garden bloom in the spring… and then you can relax in summer!