Last week, Mower Source covered the basics in how to get your grass ready for the fall, which is just around the corner. But because it’s our last post for the season until next year, we’re going to jump ahead a few months and give you pointers on how to get your yard ready for the winter. This summer’s been a great one, and we hope to see all of you again in the spring!
Make the Last Cut a Medium-Sized One
Cutting the grass to just the right height is a tricky balance, made even more difficult when it’s the last one of the season. Go too short, and your lawn won’t have adequate warmth and protection for when the chill and snow set it. And go too tall, and it’s the perfect hang-out grounds critters to burrow in. You don’t want to get things like field mice calling it home, as they can destroy your lawn really quickly. Keep the final height at about 3″ or so and you should be good until spring.
Skip on the Pruning
We like to advise homeowners to let branches and the like grow for much the same reasons as with grass: plants and shrubs need a little bit of protection to get them through the colder months. The best time to prune is in the early spring so you stimulate growth, so put the shears down and enjoy not having to do one extra task.
Un-Plant the Annuals
Annuals are so named because, for simplicity’s sake, they live for one year, and then they’re done. But the downside of them is you can just forget about these plants and expect your yard to do the rest of the work. It’s up to you to pull them out by the roots and toss them away. If you’re really attached to them, you can bring them inside to keep alive over the winter. But really, it’s just easier to go through pots, hanging baskets and garden beds and ensure annuals don’t become breeding grounds for diseases or funguses.
Turn Over the Soil
Ideally, you should be doing this task twice a year: once before winter hits, and once when spring is peeking around the corner. One of the worst things you can do for your soil is to let it lie, which causes it to compact and become hard. When that happens, yep, you guessed it — water and nutrients have a harder time seeping through, and root systems don’t grow to their full potential. Go at your soil with a pointy-edged shovel, digging about a foot into the soil and turning it right over. Once you’ve done that, gently rake it so it’s at a smoothly even height.
Cover Sensitive Plants and Other Areas
Nature’s pretty cool in that you can pretty much just leave it alone and it’ll do its thing the best way it knows how. But most homeowners don’t exactly want that rough, rugged look that comes along with the natural path of nature, so they manipulate their yards and gardens more to their specifications. If you fall under this category, you’ll have to take a bit of extra care in ensuring your plants are protected over the winter. Google which ones need to be covered in burlap, and if you want, a layer of hay over soil can be an extra level of insulation.