Although fall represents a closing of a season, going into hibernation and snuggling up on chilly evenings; fall also represents the start of something new. During the autumnal equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and indicates a moment of stillness before the earth shifts direction. I always find this a time of renewal, but in a different way. We are packing away the past and looking to the future. So now is the perfect time to winterize your garden and plan for an abundant spring.
It is an important time to do the heavy lifting in the garden, so in the spring your grass, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens have the best chance of abundance. A critical part of keeping the landscape in great condition is protecting it from winter damage. Taking a few precautions that eliminates or at least minimizes winter damage to the plants in your landscape keeps your garden looking HGTV worthy.
Overall yard tips to winterize your garden
- Give the gardens a thorough weeding – don’t let weeds get a firm grip in the spring.
- Clean up any dead debris, such as yard waste, dropped fruit etc. Remember that keeping some debris – such as a light leave cover is good for the garden, environment, bugs (good bugs that is) and animal life.
- Hose down and clean any walk ways or paths.
- Turn off and clean out any water features.
- If you have a pool or hot tub – follow the manufacturers instructions to winterize.
- Put down mulch specifically around newly planted shrubs and in garden beds.
- Give your plants one last drink, and then turn the water off.
- Drain hoses and put away out of the freezing cold.
- Clean and put away tools.
- Make a list of things you need to buy for spring and watch for sales through the winter months.
Winterize the Lawn
- Give your grass its last haircut for the season, but give it a generous cut leaving it on the longer side. Don’t put away the lawn mower. Keep that handy until the leaves fall. You don’t want piles of wet moldy leaves on your lawn over winter but going over some dried leaves with the lawnmower gives it a nice protective mulch layer for the winter.
- Most lawn care experts recommend fertilizing your lawn at least once a year and the best time to winterize your lawn is in the fall. In most cool-weather locations, you should try to winterize your lawn between August and November. The exact timing will vary depending on weather conditions but in BC it is probably best to try to get this done before the end of September or early October.
- Fill in bare patches. Best to sow a grass seed in the affected locations.
Prep trees and shrubs for winter weather
- Pre hydrate trees and shrubs before putting on a protective layer.
- If there is a chance of the temperatures falling below freezing put on a winter coat. When you’re trying to establish these trees, shrubs, and rosebushes in your garden, they often need extra protection from those harsh winter winds. You can get fancy covers but burlap and binder twine work great and won’t break the bank.
- Plant fall ready plant like cedars. Ensure to winterize the root balls.
- Add mulch to the base of trees. It helps to retain heat.
- Prevent deer, rabbits, and rodents from feeding on trees. Ideas are: deer fencing, wrapping the lower trunk, plastic tree barriers or even deer spray. Check out the Government of Canada site for repellant recipes.
Winterize flowers and vegetables beds
- Harvest the last of the vegetables. Root vegetables will last for months in a cold storage location.
- Once the freeze has killed the crop, dispose of the debris.
- Mix in any dead leaves, the extra compost is very helpful to the soil.
- Move any tropical plants indoors or to a warmer space.
- Plant your bulbs including garlic.
- Add soil and mulch (link to garden supply page) to any raised beds.
- Compost summer annuals you aren’t bringing indoors.
- Super tip for the real keeners: Do a soil test to determine if you need to add nutrients and adjust the pH.
Plan to do your winterizing over a number of weekends and you will thank yourself in the spring!
For any landscaping projects, or garden supply materials give T&R a call.