With fall around the corner, many homeowners are preparing their gardens and yards to endure the long winter. Although plants are not actively blooming and reproducing throughout the colder seasons, they still require proper care in order to survive winter and thrive in the following spring. To protect all the hard work put into gardening and yard work during the summer, it is essential to properly prepare your plants and lawns for the colder months.
Rake The Leaves
Ensure that grass survives through the winter by maintaining a regularly raked lawn. Although a bed of autumn leaves is a pretty sight, they block the sunlight from reaching the grass. Without sunlight, the grass will not be able to create and store food to last through the winter. Along with blocking sunlight, leaves also trap moisture underneath which can cause grass to decompose.
Continue mowing the lawn into autumn. Grass stays active up until the first frost, which means that it should stay at an ideal height of 2.5 to 3 inches until then. If the grass is too long, it will mat down which makes it more prone to fungi and other bacteria that promote decomposition and decay. If the grass is cut too short, the root system will weaken which will impair the quality and storage of food for the winter. Mowing in the autumn is also helpful since it chops and disperses the fallen leaves.
As the days cool down, it can be tempting to assume that grass gets sufficient water from the rain, dew, and decreased evaporation. However, grass still needs about an inch of water per week to stay healthy. A rain gauge can be used to keep track of how much water the grass is receiving. Do not forget to flush irrigation systems and disconnect hoses before winter. This will prevent frozen and damaged pipes and spigots.
Aerate The Soil
Aerating the soil is a highly recommended technique for keeping lawns happy and healthy. Regular aeration prevents soil from becoming too compact and instead allows water, oxygen, and nutrients to flow through the soil and reach plants. Depending on the size and type of your lawn, a manual or machine aerator can be used to complete this task. Some lawn mowers come with an aerator attachment. Once the soil is loosened, fertilizer can be applied in order to boost recovery growth.
A freshly aerated lawn provides a prime time to fertilize since the nutrients will have a direct path to plant roots. The N-P-K numbers on a fertilizer bag represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. A lawn care or landscape professional can suggest the optimal fertilizer type for your yard.
Fix Bare Spots in the Lawn
Any bare spots in the lawn should be repaired by seeding or laying sod. After planting fresh seeds, be sure to stay off that section of the lawn in order to protect fresh growth. Sod should be laid in enough time to provide about four weeks of growth before the first frost.
Wrap Plants and Trees
Some favorite plants and small trees deserve some extra care and protection before winter. Roses, butterfly bushes, and hydrangeas are examples of some specific plants that should be wrapped in burlap or frost protection fabric in order to block the plant from wind and freezing temperatures.