10 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter

10 Ways to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter

Think of winter as your off-season in your annual landscaping game plan. With the right steps, you can prepare your lawn for the coming cold weather months and create a landscape that will add beauty to your home in the coming spring.

1. Aerate now

Your lawn will fare winter’s weather best and come back with more vitality in the spring if you aerate while it is still green. Give your lawn some breathing room as it transitions into the cold season. Fall aeration breaks up the dry, compacted soil, allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots. Watering your lawn by hand during the dry winter months can help it green-up faster in spring.

2. Fall is for seeding

A formula for success: fall aeration and overseeding helps to fill in bare spots to provide a thick green lawn. It also helps make your lawn less susceptible to disease by introducing a variety of hardy grass types.

3. Soak up the goodness

Proper lawn care means caring for the soil beneath it as well. Soil conditioner will green up your lawn and help eliminate brown spots.

4. Keepin’ it green

Get more out of the time and money you invest in mowing, trimming and maintaining your lawn by fertilizing in the fall. Fall weed control kills perennial weeds, such as dandelions and thistles more effectively than spraying in the summer.

5. A great time to trim

It’s important to prune certain species during their dormant season in order to prevent the start of diseases such as Fire Blight, which was very prevalent along the Front Range this year. It’s also a great time to prune deciduous (leafy) trees when they are dormant and it’s the optimal time to prune overgrown evergreen and spruce trees.

6. Fall and winter watering

Traditionally, the driest months in Colorado are November through February. Watering during this time is critical to the health of your trees and shrubs. Your trees should be watered about every three to four weeks as long as temperatures are above freezing.

7. Time to fertilize trees

As soils cool down and become more uniformly moist, tree and shrub growth resumes in the fall, making it the perfect time to fertilize trees. Fall fertilization increases the productivity of soil, both in increasing nutrient availability and encourages root growth. Trees and shrubs with a healthy productive root system are far more likely to overwinter with fewer dead branches and increased spring growth.

8. Be sure to blow out

Winterizing your sprinkler system before the first freeze helps prevent costly repairs to your system and home. We use compressed air to remove all water and moisture from your system, preventing any opportunity of freezing and damage over the winter. Be sure to properly cover the backflow preventer to defend against any hard freezes that could lead to a busted pipe and flooded basement. If you’re unsure, ask a landscaping expert.

9. Cut back perennials

Once temperatures hit the freezing mark and plants die back, cut back the stems of your perennials to within an inch or two of the ground. Later in the fall, consider adding light mulch such as hay, straw or pine needles. Renew the top few inches of mulch in your flowerbeds to protect perennials from the hard freezes. Keep mulch around trees looking more like a doughnut and less like a volcano. This will discourage critters from digging in and feasting on the tree.

10. Plant now for later

Yes, you still have time to do some planting that will yield results in the spring. Fall’s cool air and warm soil can be the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Bulbs should be in the ground by mid October, while trees and shrubs should be planted by the end of October. By planting now, new trees and shrubs can get used to their new home before enduring the dog days of summer.

This article originally ran on MySwingle.com. Click here for the original post.

About this Experts Contributor: Kellie Houghtaling is Social Media and PR Coordinator for Swingle's Lawn, Tree & Landscape Care, which provides landscaping services in Denver. You can follow this contributor on Twitter @MySwingle and Google+.

As of October 15, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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