How to pre­pare your lawn and gar­den for win­ter

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Win­ter weather can be harsh. Home­own­ers who spend much of the year tend­ing to their lawns and gar­dens may worry that win­ter will undo all of their hard work. Though home­own­ers can­not do any­thing to pre­vent snow, wind and ice from af­fect­ing their prop­er­ties, they can take var­i­ous steps to pre­pare their lawns and gar­dens for what­ever win­ter has in store.

Mulch leaves. Fall­ing leaves are a tell­tale sign that win­ter is com­ing. In lieu of raking leaves as they be­gin to fall, home­own­ers can mulch them into their lawns. Scotts®, an in­dus­try leader in lawn care, notes that mulching leaves is a great way for home­own­ers to re­cy­cle a nat­u­ral re­source and en­rich the soil of their lawns. While it might not be pos­si­ble to mulch fallen leaves in late au­tumn when they be­gin to fall en masse, do­ing so in the early stages of fall should be pos­si­ble so long as the lawn is not be­ing suf­fo­cated. Scotts® rec­om­mends mulching the leaves to dime-size pieces to a point where half an inch of grass can be seen through the mulched leaf layer.

Once leaves be­gin to fall more heav­ily, rake them up and add them to com­post piles. The re­source Gar­den­ingKnowHow.com notes com­post­ing leaves cre­ates a dark, rich and or­ganic mat­ter that can add nu­tri­ents to gar­den soil and loosen com­pacted earth. Leav­ing leaves on the lawn once they start to fall in great num­bers makes it hard for grass blades to breathe, and the leaves can block mois­ture from reach­ing the soil, which needs water to main­tain strong roots. In ad­di­tion, po­ten­tially harm­ful pathogens can breed on damp leaves left on a lawn, and such bac­te­ria can cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the turf over time.

Ap­ply a win­ter­iz­ing fer­til­izer. Win­ter­iz­ing fer­til­iz­ers can help lawns store food they need to sur­vive through win­ter and also can help them bounce back strong in spring. Such fer­til­iz­ers are typ­i­cally for­mu­lated for coolsea­son grasses such as fes­cue and blue­grass and are of­ten best ap­plied af­ter the fi­nal cut of fall. Warm-sea­son grasses go dor­mant in win­ter, so home­own­ers whose lawns con­tain these types of grasses won’t want to ap­ply a win­ter­iz­ing fer­til­izer. Home­own­ers who don’t know which type of grass they have or are con­cerned about when to ap­ply a win­ter­iz­ing fer­til­izer should con­sult with a lawn­care pro­fes­sional be­fore fer­til­iz­ing.

Re­move an­nu­als from the gar­den. An­nu­als won’t be com­ing back in spring, so it’s best to re­move ones that are no longer pro­duc­ing from the gar­den be­fore the ar­rival of win­ter. Do­ing so can pre­vent the on­set of fun­gal dis­eases that may ad­versely af­fect the gar­den in spring.

Fall is the per­fect time for home­own­ers who spend months mak­ing their lawns and gar­dens as lush as pos­si­ble to take steps to pre­pare such ar­eas for po­ten­tially harsh win­ter weather.

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