As the season changes, you’ll need to protect your garden from some of the harsher weather that can damage your plants in wintertime. Taking some basic steps can help you ensure that your garden makes it through the winter in one piece.
Lawns: It’s a good idea to fertilise your lawn once in the early part of autumn with a high nitrogen fertiliser to help boost the roots and promote one of your lawn’s major growth periods, especially in places with cold-weather grasses. The second application should be a higher phosphorus fertiliser just before the cold weather settles in, which should help keep the grass robust. Try not to fertilise twice too close together; you don’t want to promote the kind of new growth that will be quickly killed off as the weather turns.
Before using any fertiliser at all, you may want to get a soil test to determine the existing pH and nutrient levels. You’ll also want to know which types of grass you have in your lawn, as some breeds go dormant and won’t benefit much from fertiliser.
Besides fertilising, autumn is a good time to reseed or put on new sod, so that it will be ready and growing in the spring.
Trees: Autumn is also a good time to prune trees, to make them less vulnerable to branches being knocked down by winter storms. However, you’ll want to limit yourself to dead limbs, as heavy pruning can promote new growth, which you won’t want to do now. Although you’ll want to consider putting some mulch around the tree, you should spread it father out and not pile it up near the trunk, as that can attract animals.
Flowers and Plants: In the flowerbeds, you may want to pot flowers and bring them indoors, as well as bringing in any potted plants that had been placed outdoors. This is also a good time for transplanting or planting bulbs for spring, so that the root systems can get established over the winter. Perennials can be left, but you’ll want to clear out dead growth and put down some mulch cover.
Patios: If you have a pool, make sure to drain and cover it before winter sets in. Use professional help if you can. This will help avoid potential preventable maintenance down the road. You’ll also want to take care of your patios and sidewalks. Check the water drainage, to make sure you won’t have too much ice forming. Fixing or moving gutters, or adding gravel next to the pavement, can help with this.
Once you’ve got the plant growth cleared out and under control and the vegetation covered up, your garden should be ready to settle in and hibernate.
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