Put your garden to bed & protect plants from cold!

Now that it’s getting colder, you might be wondering what to do with your garden that you’ve worked so hard on this year. Rest assured that all your work won’t be for naught–you can take some steps now to ensure your plants stay healthy and look just as beautiful next spring! While annuals won’t survive the season, there’s much you can do to overwinter your yard or garden. Here’s a checklist of what to look out for and what to do!

Trees and Shrubs

  • Trees can be susceptible to sunscald in the winter. Sunscald is when trunks split due to rapid changes in temperature throughout the season. Paint your tree trunks with a white latex paint, or wrap with tree wrap to protect them.
  • Don’t over-prune, but do remove read or broken limbs.
  • You can protect your evergreen shrubs from the cold by simply wrapping them in burlap. They’ll be glad you did!

The Lawn

Now is the time to fertilize your lawn! Also, keep your lawn’s height at about two or three inches to encourage root growth. Adding about half an inch of compost atop your lawn will also help it grow good, strong roots.

Water Features

  • Remove floating plants that won’t survive the winter. If you have fish, bring them to an indoor aquarium. Remove any debris from the water.
  • Drain the pipes in your irrigation system, if you have one. If any part of your system is above-ground, cover it with some sort of insulation like insulator tape. Don’t block the motor or air pumps, though!

Flowers and Vegetables

  • Get rid of dead annuals. If they’re disease-free, compost them!
  • Weed the garden and cut back perennials to the ground. As with the lawn add an inch or two of compost to perennials.
  • Bring your most delicate and tender perennials indoors for the season.
  • Now is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Store summer- and fall-flowering bulbs.
  • Once it becomes cold on a consistent basis, keep your garden mulched.

Tools and Supplies

  • Keep terra-cotta or ceramic containers in a shed or garage. Keep them clean by removing salt or algae buildup.
  • Drain your hoses and take them inside so they do not freeze and rupture.
  • Now is a good time to inspect your lawn mower and change the oil. Empty other engine-powered tools of their gasoline.

Other Tips

Don’t cart off those bags of leaves–save them! Put bags of dead leaves in the shed, or somewhere you won’t have to see them. A year later you’ll have great, light mulch for putting your garden to bed next winter. Conversely, you can mow the leaves into a mulch to use today.

Till your soil now, and you’ll expose any insects or pests that will try to stick around through the winter. Doing this means less pest issues in the springtime–get them out of there