Getting your yard ready for winter

With the arrival of fall and chillier (albeit slight in some places) weather, it is nearing time to prepare your yard for winter. In fact, good preparation before winter and freezing temperatures will better protect your yard and have it return healthy in the spring.

Lawn
First, let’s talk about your lawn. Go ahead and rake all of the leaves that have fallen from the trees. They can suffocate your lawn if you don’t. Also, this is actually the best time to fertilize your yard. Although, grass may seem to stop growing during winter, the roots are still going strong. Fertilizing in early fall and a final feeding in early November will keep your grass strong, winterized and ready to go come springtime!

Shrubs
Now, on to your shrubbery. Again, caring for your greenery before winter sets in will help it stay healthy through winter and be ready for spring. Typically pruning should be done after the leaves turn and immediately after flowering. Cut at a slight angle about 1/4 in. from the branch. If any of your shrubs have experienced frost damage in winters past, consider covering them with thick burlap, before the cold sets in. A layer of mulch can also provide necessary insulation.

Trees
Preparing your trees for winter can be one of the most important tasks you do. Be sure to trim limbs to keep them away from your roof or any power lines. A falling branch can cause a great deal of damage to a house or power line. Plant ever green trees near your home to provide a wind block. This will insulate your home to help keep you from running your heater as much.

Outside the house
You may need to seek professional assistance, but be sure to drain your pool and cover it. Because animals have a tendency to walk on pool coverings, purchase the strongest and thickest covering that you are able. This will also help to keep any leaves or other debris out of the pool. If you have a hot tub, be sure it is in good working condition before winter. If the heater or pump is broken, it could lead to a frozen pipe, a busted pipe or a leak, all of which are costly to repair.

Walkways, porches and patios can all become dangerous in winter. Shifts in the temperature and humidity can cause concrete, stone and brick to shift and settle unevenly. Do your best to keep them clear and dry to help combat the shift.

Lastly, make sure that you have sand or ice melt on hand before the first freeze. Drain the gas out of your lawn mower, it won’t be getting much use. Replace a broken or damaged snow shovel and have your ice scraper sharpened. Put your snow tires or chains on your vehicles for safe driving in inclement weather.