With winter quickly approaching many gardeners are enjoying their last weeks of summer harvest and moving towards prepping their gardens and landscapes for the cold winter months.
If you are new to gardening you may think that winter is a slow time of year, however, the opposite is actually true! Here are several tips, tricks, and tasks that every gardener should do in order to prep their landscape and gardens for winter.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch . . . . and then mulch some more! Generously applying mulch to your garden and flower beds will protect the tender roots from the frost that winter brings. If you live in an area where the winter air is particularly dry, the mulch will also go a long way in helping to retain the much needed moisture. On average, spread 2-3 inches of mulch or optimal benefits.
Make sure to use good quality mulch from trusted sources as disease spores from the materials that were used to make the mulch can survive for a long time and once you spread it into your garden beds those diseases and pests can thrive and grow.
Take the time to remove dead growth from your plants. Do not prune back bushes, trees, and plants as that will actually promote growth right when you want the plants to move into a dormant phase. You can certainly clean out dead annuals, deadhead blooms that have past their prime, etc.
Now is also a great time of year to divide perennials and bulbs to plant around your landscape or to share with family, friends, and neighbors.
Late fall is a great time to apply a late season fertilizer to your lawn and plants. The grass roots will continue to grow and strengthen throughout the winter months so applying a fertilizer as you are prepping the garden for winter will give it the nutrients that it will be looking for.
While many winter preparations have to do with the plants themselves, your pots and planters are also an investment in your landscape. In order to avoid cracking and breaks in your clay and fragile planters caused by the contraction and expansion that can occur during freeze and thaw cycles, moves these containers into a garden shed or garage space.
Finally, speaking about freezing and thawing cycles, every gardener should ensure that they have properly winterized their irrigation and sprinkler systems. No one likes to find cracks in their pipes and sprinkler heads in the spring when they can be easily prevented with a proper system winterization in the late fall.