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As the cold weather ramps up, it’s important to think about getting your lawn ready for winter. Fall is the perfect season to tackle yard work and fix issues with your lawn to prep for winter. After all, it’s not too hot and not freezing yet.
Whether you’re wondering how to winterize your lawn or how to prep your snow blower, these tips will help you get ready for the cold ahead.
Know When to Trim
Pruning and cutting in the fall is a delicate process. As a rule, you don’t want to prune too in late fall, though some early trimming can help your plants.
You definitely don’t want to cut back any plants that flower in the spring. This is because buds begin forming in the fall and need time to harden over the winter. Any cutting done to these plants will damage them and keep them from blooming in the spring. SO let’s not do that.
Evergreens should also not be trimmed until the spring, and should only be trimmed back halfway. This will allow the new growth to properly fill in and look AMAZING.
However, you can trim your other perennials close to the ground before the first frost. After the frost, clear away whatever has broken down. You can also use your hedge trimmers to prune privet and butterfly bushes. Make sure you leave about three feet of the bush to keep it from breaking under winter snow.
Any cuttings that aren’t diseased or insect-ridden can be added to your compost pile and used to winterize the lawn. If you’re wondering whether or not to trim in the fall, consider whether your shrubs may act as a windbreak in the winter and if you can wait until spring to cut them back.
If you had to take down a tree this summer, or need to cut branches that could pose a problem under the weight of winter snow, a log splitter can make easy work of your wood chopping chore.
In the fall, just as with your smaller plants, you only want to cut back when necessary. Look for branches that could damage your property or the tree if they were to break under winter stress.
Use a chainsaw to cut your branches into manageable logs for the splitter to cut, usually about 25 inches long. Power up the log splitter and let it do the heavy lifting, just be sure to read the owner’s manual before operating and take proper log-splitter safety precautions.
Store firewood covered by a tarp in a dry, well-ventilated space like under the deck. Winterize by collecting kindling from around the yard and storing it in boxes near the house.
Winterize Your Lawn
Early fall is the perfect time to reseed and fertilize your lawn to repair any damage, but you can also take this time to spread compost to protect it throughout the colder months. To winterize your lawn, mulch fall leaves and leave them on the yard to decompose and add nutrients to the soil. Spread a light layer of compost onto the lawn and flower beds to keep them warm and improve the soil quality throughout winter. Don’t be afraid to slightly bury some plants, just be careful not to crush them entirely.
Cut your lawn on the usual high settings throughout the season, but lower the cut setting on the last day you mow. This will winterize the lawn by keeping it short to prevent matting under the snow.
As you winterize your lawn, think about any new beds you’d like to plant next spring. Lay down a barrier and a six-inch layer of mulch where you would like them to go. This helps to kill the grass and prepare the ground for planting. Hopefully killing some weeds as well.
Keep leaves away from the base of trees wherever possible to prevent mold growth and the suffocation of your lawn. You can rake them into the yard to be mulched, along with any leaves covering the driveway or other pathways.
Clear the gutters to prevent backup during the winter melt, and if you have drainage areas in your yard, make sure leaves are cleared from those spots as well.
Store Your Lawnmower and Prepare Your Snow Blower
After you’ve winterized your lawn, chopped your firewood and spread your compost, it’s time to put the lawnmower away and prepare your snow blower for Old Man Winter.
Drain the gas and oil from the mower, remove the spark plug, clean the lawn mower blades and store your machine for winter. Take this time to check if any new parts will need to be ordered for spring as well.
To get your snow blower ready for winter, change the oil and check all the filters and parts. It’s best to do this in early to mid-fall as you don’t know when the first snowfall will be. Check your owner’s manual for safety and operation tips before using it.
I don’t miss really heavy snows — ones that require digging yourself out of the house and into the car. Light snows are SO pretty, though. And even better when you don’t have to drive anywhere. Have a fab winter!
11/4/18 Hi guys! I hope you had a nice weekend!! My boys had some friends over so we had a house full. It was nice, though. I like when they are happy 🙂
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.