Win­ter­iz­ing is key to bet­ter lawns

Cecil Whig - - & & -

— As the door closes on sum­mer with fall­ing tem­per­a­tures and leaves, many home­own­ers mis­tak­enly slip into hi­ber­na­tion from yard work. How­ever, this time­frame is cru­cial for prep­ping your yard for the com­ing win­ter — and po­si­tion­ing it to look its best the fol­low­ing spring.

The typ­i­cal yard goes through a lot in a given year: nat­u­ral wear and tear, rain­storms, dry spells, blan­kets of leaves, weeds and so on. Prop­erly man­ag­ing the in­evitabil­ity be­fore the sea­son changes re­quires sim­ple plan­ning and a lit­tle el­bow grease.

The fol­low­ing tips will help even the novice home­owner stay on top of things. Fer­til­iz­ing Your yard is like a bear — it stores the most nu­tri­ents as pos­si­ble to sur­vive lean months. Fer­til­izer is the eas­i­est route. Ap­ply ni­tro­gen fer­til­izer — at a lower dosage than your spring ap­pli­ca­tion — to pro­mote growth and help roots pre­pare for the harsh win­ter months. Rak­ing While it seems ob­vi­ous, it is de­cep­tively easy to let leaves and de­bris pile up to the point where a home­owner gives up for the sea­son. Reg­u­lar rak­ing is one of the sim­plest ways to pro­tect your lawn. Fallen leaves dur­ing the win­ter­time smother grass and can pre­vent new grass from sprout­ing. More­over, get­ting the job done in the fall makes for a much drier chore come spring. Aer­at­ing Aer­a­tion is less com­mon than rak­ing and fer­til­iz­ing but is just as im­por­tant. Tools like the Strong­way Tow-Be­hind Plug Aer­a­tor by


North­ern Tool + Equip­ment pen­e­trate and ex­tract plugs from lawns to loosen com­pacted soil and break up thatch. In turn, aer­at­ing frees up the soil to al­low for air, nu­tri­ents and wa­ter to flow down to the roots of the grass. The re­ju­ve­nated roots grow deeper, pro­duc­ing a stronger and richer look­ing lawn. Tree Ther­apy Trim­ming and prun­ing trees are a heavy dose of risk man­age­ment for home­own­ers.

Prun­ing branches al­lows new growth and can stop dis­eases from spread­ing to the rest of the tree. Trou­bleshoot your trees each fall for weak branches that may be­come weighed down by the weather. Hav­ing these trimmed will save you from the mis­for­tunes of a bro­ken win­dow or hole in your roof.

Yard care should take a right­ful place on home­own­ers’ win­ter­i­za­tion check­list, right next to in­stalling storm doors and check­ing the fur­nace. As with many things, an ounce of preven­tion is worth a pound of cure.

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