Winter is coming, and the frost is creeping over the Wall into your KB Home’s lawn. Luckily, a little bit of preventative lawn care will go a long way towards protecting your grass, trees, garden, and plants while also preparing them for spring blooms.
In most climates, plants go dormant in the winter. During the fall, they’re drinking up as many nutrients as possible to last them through the cold weather. This thirst for nutrients means fertilizer will go a long way towards helping plants flourish, and weed killer will be much more effective for the plants you don’t want. For all-natural solutions to eliminating weeds here are a few ideas that could help. With winter storms soon to be passing through, it’s a great time to get rid of dead tree branches that could fall and damage your property. Additionally, frost and cold weather can do a lot of harm, especially to young tender plants, so there’s much to do to make sure they make it through the winter alive. Here are a few guidelines for preparing grass for winter and other winter lawn treatment tips that you should be able to perform in one day’s work, helping ensure that your trees and plants make it through the winter in the best possible shape.
To get the most done, gather your team and take them through the list of chores to be accomplished – you can rally up some of your friends (while promising to keep it fun and light). Divvy up roles and responsibilities based on capability and interest, small children can make a great addition to your maintenance squad for some activities, such as raking leaves, but you wouldn’t assign them the task of handling pruning shears. Make it entertaining – turn on music, wear your favorite gardening hats, and promise a reward for a job well-done, like a family movie, pizza party, or festive treat!
Clean and Trim
Preparing your lawn for winter is a lot easier in the fall than after winter weather has turned clean leaves and foliage into mush. Not to mention, blackened stems and foliage can harbor disease pathogens and insect eggs.
Sharpen your clippers, slip on your gloves, and start cutting back dead flowers and bushes. Pull out any dead plants or shrubs, as well as weeds. Clean up fallen fruit, nuts, twigs, and other debris. Make sure leaves are completely raked from your lawn to give the ground rain, air, and sunlight.
Cut back any dead branches from trees, but don’t do any pruning at this point as you could do some damage. Trees heal slower in the fall, and there’s a risk of decay fungi. For most trees, it’s best to prune when they’re dormant, after the coldest part of the winter has passed. This process will ensure a big burst of growth come spring-time.
Cleaning and trimming are no small tasks, but your yard will be healthier and look a lot tidier as you head into winter.
Divide and Plant
Fall, with its cooler temperatures and increased moisture, is a perfect time to divide and replant spring and summer blooming plants and grasses. Dividing plants is a great way to prepare your garden for winter on many levels – if you’ve got plants that are outgrowing their space, it’s a great way to control their size while renewing their blooming. If you’ve got blank areas or holes in your yard, you’ve got a “free” mature plant to fill the space. If you’ve never divided plants before, do a little research online about your particular plants and climate to see how it’s done. Youtube has some great tutorial videos for the task, such as this one about preparing flower beds for winter using mulch or this one about general winter lawn preparation.
Purchase and plant new plants and trees if you like, as the cool season will give them plenty of time to adjust to their new surroundings before they start growing again in spring.
Prep Your Lawn
Lawns need a little extra care in the fall to ensure they’re lush and green come spring, and we’ve collected the best lawn aeration tips below.
Aerate: Whether you use a manual aerator or power equipment, fall is a great time to aerate. The holes allow moisture and fertilizer to get deeper into the lawn’s root system. Filling the holes with horticulture sand will keep the holes structured all winter, for deeper watering and health.
Fertilize and/or spread compost: your lawn is thirsty for nutrients right now, so it’s the perfect time to fertilize. Fall and winter rains will help work the fertilizer deeper into the soil.
Reseed bald patches: laying down new seed isn’t much work, but new grass shoots need to be kept moist – and fall weather makes that much easier. Talk to your local nursery to determine the best seed for your lawn, and take their direction on how to plant.
Weed by Hand: weeding is tough, but there’s no better way to get out dandelions and other weeds than pulling by hand. Children and teenagers are good candidates for this job, as long as they can be trusted to pull the weeds by their roots.
Protect from Frost
Tree trunks and plants can be damaged or killed by frost. Wrap frost-susceptible trees and shrubs in burlap (available at most nurseries) once frost is in the forecast.
With cooler weather, dormancy, and rain, much less irrigation is needed in your lawn. Depending on your climate, adjust your irrigation to use as little water as possible.
Make Repairs and Check Gutters
Ensure your lawn is prepared for winter rain and snow by making repairs to gutters and down spouts. Check to make sure your gutters are free of debris, and if they’re not, schedule a cleaning or a separate day to do the job yourself.
Completing the steps we just reviewed will yield a tidy, winter prepared lawn AND give your family a healthy, responsibility-building activity. What could be better? Enjoy yourself, and start dreaming of the benefits you’ll see in the spring.
If you know you’ll be missing the garden in the winter, the KB blog has great advice on how to add house plants to your home! Live plants can relieve stress and even ward off the common cold, making them a perfect addition to the home for winter.