Featured at OwnHomeStyle.com
By John Biondi
Your outdoor plants have worked hard for you all summer, making your yard a place you’re proud to call home. Properly winterizing your lawn and garden is an important step toward healthy soil, lush grass, and happy plants next year. Remember to take care of your outdoor accessories, including your lawn equipment, gardening tools, and all of your lawn and garden decor. A little time spent this autumn will make your gardening and landscaping efforts easier and more enjoyable next spring!
Let’s start with the easy jobs – First remember to store all of your lawn and garden decor including fragile planters, gazing balls, and your deck furniture. Unglazed terra cotta planters left filled with soil outside will often break in the freezing temperatures so it is best to clean them and place them in a storage area where they are protected from the elements.
Autumn is the time to find your birdfeeders and to start stocking your winter feeding pantry. Soon your many feathered friends will be flocking to your feeders for that nutritious morsel. Remember to keep your feeders full through the winter as the birds need reliable food sources through the winter months.
Now that you’ve done the easy tasks, let’s move on to the more mundane winterizing chores. Start by simply cleaning up the vegetable garden. After the first hard frost, remove the year’s annual plants and the dead vegetation. You can add this material to your compost pile, but make sure you’re not adding material from diseased or pest-infested plants. You’ll want to pull perennial weeds before you mulch your garden down for the winter.
The best part of fall landscape chores is planting the spring-blooming bulbs. Crocus, tulips, and daffodils are a beautiful addition to the early spring landscape.
In the yard there’s the major job of raking leaves. These are great either in the compost pile or as direct mulch on the garden. Perennial flowers may be smothered by a heavy layer of mulch, however. Also, wait to prune your trees until later in the winter.
After the ground freezes you can mulch your perennial flowers and newly planted trees. Certain shrubs will need to be wrapped in burlap to protect them from wind damage, sun scald, and other winter injury.
Moving on to the mechanical tasks of winterizing your lawn and garden – While you might try to procrastinate on these jobs until spring, you’ll be well rewarded for the maintenance you perform this fall. Drain the gas from your lawnmower and string trimmer. Actually it’s best to let your mowers and trimmers simply run out of fuel. If you don’t want to ‘waste’ that little bit of fuel, add a gas conditioner before the long winter. Be sure to follow directions. Also, take the same care with your gardening equipment such as your rotary tiller.
Clean all of your landscaping equipment before you store it away for the long, cold winter. Wash with soap and water, clean the air filter, and change the oil. You’ll find that first lawn mowing job in the spring a little bit easier if you take time to sharpen the blades now. You can protect that freshly sharpened blade by applying a little spray oil to the blades. You can also apply light spray oil to other moving parts such as cables and the throttle controls.
Lastly, drain all of the water from the garden hoses and turn off the taps. Be sure to store your insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in a safe storage area that will not freeze. Make sure these materials are kept away from children and pets!