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Protecting Your Landscape for Winter

Protecting Your Landscape for Winter

Sunny fall days are the best time to do yard work. The weather is not too hot or too cold and it is enjoyable to do some light landscaping work with leaves changing color and the scent of cool weather in the air. Knowing that winter is just around the corner, fall is also the best time to prepare your landscape for colder temperatures, snow and ice. Here are a few things to do to get your landscape ready for winter.

The Top Three Fall Landscape Tasks- Don’t Skip These

Even if you don’t do anything thing else on this list, be sure to spend an afternoon on these three simple things.

First, prune dead or damaged limbs from trees. Any large limbs that have died and are overhanging your house, patio or walkway are first priority.

Second, remove leaves from lawn areas. Once the leaves become wet and matted they begin to kill off patches of lawn. Not raking them now means you will have even more work to do in the spring.

Third, inspect all outdoor mechanical and electrical systems. Check irrigation systems, outdoor lighting and water features for broken components, leaky pipes or frayed wiring. If anything looks damaged, contact a professional for assistance in rectifying your issue.

Overseed Your Lawn in the Fall

Fall is the best time to overseed and revitalize your lawn. Aerating your lawn prior to reseeding will help both the existing turf and new seeds. Aerators are available at most rental centers. Then, lightly overseed the entire lawn, giving extra attention to bare and thin areas. You can choose to fertilize or spread a light topping of compost. Compost provides nutrients and improves the quality of the soil.

It is best to overseed about six weeks before the season’s first hard freeze. That is always a bit of a guessing game, so don’t worry if you are a little early or late. Aerating and improving soil quality are always beneficial, even if an unexpected early freeze keeps tender, young grass plants from getting established.

Protect Fragile and Delicate Plants

If you have potted perennials on your patio, deck or steps, they will need some winter protection. Without extra insulation, the roots of plants in containers are likely to freeze. Group your pots and containers and surround them with mulch or leaves. Be sure to fill in the spaces between the pots.

Newly planted ornamental shrubs and trees may be subject to damage from ice or falling limbs. A circle of galvanized wire fence or wood lath fence can be used as a barrier. The fencing will also provide support for limbs that get coated with ice. You can also drape the fence with burlap, canvas or old sheets for a little extra temperature and ice protection when you know a big storm is coming.

Seal Patios and Decks

There a number of commercially available products that seal wood, stone and masonry. The best time to apply sealers is in the fall before freezing weather. It is particularly important to seal wood decks. Even though outdoor lumber is pressure-treated, using a sealer every couple of years can significantly extend the lifespan of wood.

While it is less critical to seal stone or unit paver patios and walks, it is worth consideration. In particular, softer and porous stone materials are subject to damage from freezing and thawing water. Ask your local landscape supplier if you are not sure about the best treatment for your materials.

You will enjoy winter more once you have taken care of the most important landscape maintenance items. Then, it’s time to go inside and wait for the snow. If you need assistance preparing your landscape for the cold weather, contact us today.

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