It doesn’t look like much is going on in the garden and lawn during winter, but if we could see underneath the soil we would see a lot of activity.
Plants go dormant during cold weather, even evergreens stop actively growing, but they still need a little maintenance to keep the roots and soil healthy during dormancy. Use these tips to maintain your landscape during the winter so it will be healthy and strong for the next growing season.
Fall Clean Up
Remove all debris from lawns and garden in late fall. All plant material and leaves should be raked and removed to prevent pests and disease from hanging out all winter.
After cleaning up the garden, a fall cover crop should be planted to prevent soil erosion and compaction during the winter. A fall cover crop, like collards, turnips or kale, will also add nutrients to the soil and provide fresh greens for eating.
If any of the green cover crops remain in the garden by early spring, simply till the plants under to act as a ‘green manure’ for the garden.
Mow the lawn one last time, aerate the soil, spread fertilizer and water thoroughly. Remove all lawn furniture from grassy areas to help prevent soil compaction.
Plants do not need to be watered during the winter months, but evergreens must store up water to prevent them from drying out. Water evergreens once a week during the fall and continue until the ground freezes. This will enable them to store enough water to prevent their needles or leaves from drying out, turning brown and falling off.
Shake off excess snow from all trees and shrubs during the winter.
Don’t walk on the lawn and garden during the winter. The soil is vulnerable when the ground is frozen and walking on it will cause compaction. The weight of snow will also cause the soil to compact, so remove snow when possible.
Snow and ice on home walkways is hazardous during winter months, however, de-icer products contain chemicals that can burn nearby plant life. Boiling water poured on frozen walkways will also harm grass and garden plants.
Shovel walkways and apply a layer of cat litter or wood chips to stay safe and prevent harm to nearby plant life.
Warmer climates will still have weeds growing in the lawn and garden all winter. Pull up any weeds you see growth during the winter so they will not be able to spread seeds and reproduce.
If you use a pre-emergence weed killing product, late winter is the time to apply it. Remember, it’s always smart to check with lawn experts in your area to make sure you’re properly treating your lawn based on your current climate.