Great tips for getting the garden ready for winter from guest blogger, Paul Dadknowskiy.com
Boston winters might not be the absolute worst i
n the country, but they’re still worthy of some end-of-summer maintenance before the cold weather arrives. Preparing your home, garden, and pool for the chilly months ahead doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. After all, there are better ways to enjoy the last, lingering days of summer than toiling in the yard. To make it as painless as possible, we’ve created this easy-to-follow checklist that will get you out of your work gloves in no time.
1. Prep The Lawn
While spring is commonly associated with lawn care, HGTV claims that, “Early autumn is a great time to repair the damage and to ensure that your turf is in good condition for the year ahead.” This means raking, mowing, aerating, seeding, and fertilizing. After almost all the leaves have fallen, rake and mow your lawn to a height of 1.5 inches, then aerate the lawn with a pitchfork or push-aerator. (Renting an aerator will save you hours of manual labor and you won’t have to make a huge financial investment, as most rental rates are reasonable.) Once you’ve finished, seed and fertilize the lawn before lightly watering a final time.
2. Weed, Trim & Pull
Weed your garden beds, pulling out any spent annuals and diseased plants as well. Prune decorative shrubs and cut back perennial bushes, decorative grasses, hostas, and vines. Empty any pots of annuals and bring in those that will winter indoors.
3. Double Your Perennials
If your perennial blooms or bulbs are looking crowded, now is the time to separate and replant them. Be sure to water transplanted perennials daily for the next two weeks. For more information on dividing your perennials, visit Burpee’s Garden Advice Center.
4. Plant New Bulbs
The end of the season is chock full of garden center sales – making it the perfect opportunity to snatch up some bulbs since they plant well in the fall. Water them in, along with your newly transplanted perennials, for a crop of new blooms in the spring.
5. Mulch Everything
Mulching in autumn protects your plants’ roots from moisture loss and frost damage. Put down a generous layer around blooms, bulbs, shrubs, and any perennial fruits like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
6. Clean and Store Garden Decor
Unless you’ll be feeding the birds throughout winter, bird feeders (and hummingbird feeders) should be stored away to avoid the elements. The same goes for any decorations or ornaments that shouldn’t ‘rough it’ outdoors. Once it’s finally time to put up the patio furniture, remove and store the cushions and pillows in plastic bags or totes. You might also choose to power wash your furniture so it’s ready to go come spring. (Again, renting is great if you don’t want to invest in the equipment – or don’t have room to store it.) If your power washer is capable spraying a cleaning solution, DoItYourself dot com has a DIY recipe for a green power washing solution perfect for lawn furniture, siding, and concrete.
7. Winterize and Cover the Swimming Pool
Once you’ve lowered your pool’s water level to the necessary height, clean the pool well and balance your water’s chemistry. Add any winterizing chemicals you may be using to the water and make sure your pump and plumbing are thoroughly drained of moisture. A winter cover will protect your pool water, making reopening the pool easier in the spring. But you may also want to consider a safety cover, which will not only keep your pool interior pristine but also protect from accidental drowning. Not only will this help to keep your neighbors and pets safe, but under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, landowners may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on their land if the injury is caused by hazardous objects or conditions. Because of this, safety covers help protect you as well.
And now that the lawn is prepped, the garden mulched, and the pool closed, you can kick back and enjoy the crisp temperatures knowing that your yard will be more beautiful than ever come spring. All of the newly planted bulbs and the lush seeded grass will be right there waiting. Get yourself some hot chocolate (or a hot toddy) and relax. You deserve it.