Preparing Your Lawn and Landscaping for Winter

By James White | October 26, 2016
Image by James White
by James White
October 26, 2016

This week’s guest blogger is James White, a kombucha tea-sipping blogger who focuses on green building and sustainable living via his family blog Homey Improvements. He also enjoys sharing his recent discoveries with DIY projects, home tips and organic gardening. James is “Alaska Grown” but now resides in PA. Connect with him on Twitter at @DIYfolks.

If you want your lawn to look great year after year, you have to prep it from spring to fall. That means when the cooler weather of September and October hits, you must prepare for winter. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your lawn and landscaping look good come spring and summer.

Aerate Your Lawn

Fall is a good time to aerate your yard. Aerating creates pockets where oxygen, fertilizer and water can more easily get right down to the roots of your grass and keep it healthy and thriving. A gas-powered aerator costs around $70 to rent by the day.

Landscape Prep

The first thing you should do when winterizing your fall flowerbeds is to figure out what growing zone you are in. This can determine how often you should mulch around bushes and flowering shrubs, for example.

You’ll also want to:

  • Add pops of color by planting mums and pansies. These are cool-weather flowers and they will do well in the milder temperatures of fall.
  • Trim back shrubs and bushes that become overgrown during the faster summer growing season.
  • Plant flowering bulbs that you’ll get to enjoy next spring. Think tulips, daffodils and crocuses.

Weed Control and Fertilizer

Because grass and weeds drink in nutrients fed to them during this time of year, it is a good time to fight back against pesky weed issues, such as dandelions. Treat your yard for these weeds now and they’ll be less likely to take over next spring. This is also a good time to add nutrients to the soil. You can take a sample of your soil to your local landscaping and garden center for an analysis of what type of fertilizer would be best to add.

Typically, the fall application of fertilizer will have a lower nitrogen content and higher potassium concentration. This encourages the grass to not grow as quickly, but provides support to the roots of the plants to help them survive the harsher temperatures to come.

Dealing With Leaves

Raking leaves can be an exhausting, never-ending chore. However, there are a couple of good reasons to keep them raked up as they fall. You don’t want to leave them on top of your grass too long, since it won’t receive as much moisture or sunlight. Also, you can also utilize those pesky leaves and turn them into mulch or compost.

Fill in Bare Spots

If you have any bald spots in your yard, this is also a good time to sow seeds. Landscapers often indicate great success in sowing seeds early in the fall. Dormant seeding in the fall should be conducted around November, but this may vary depending on which zone you live in. This is a good time to introduce hardier grass types and new species as well. The seeds will lay dormant over the winter, and you can then overseed the following spring for a higher success rate.

Lawn care doesn’t stop when the mowing season ends. It is an ongoing effort if you want your lawn to look lush and beautiful. The little bit of extra work will be well worth it when you see how beautiful your yard looks next spring.

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