Give your lawn a well-deserved boost for the spring planting season with these essential winter lawn care and garden maintenance tips.
Essential Winter Lawn Care and Garden Maintenance Tips
You don’t have to wait until March 20, the first day of Spring, to break out your lopping sheers. Believe it or not, what you do today will improve the spring planting season, if you follow these essential winter lawn care and garden maintenance tips.
Good gardeners know that lawns and gardens need a bit of TLC during the winter months too. And, even though the work isn’t as extensive as it is during the growing season, you’ll be glad you did a bit of sprucing here and there before Spring’s first blooms.
Here are a dozen essential winter lawn care tips and must-do garden projects for winter:
1. Clear away the seeds. Check the areas around your bird feeder and clean up any seeds that may have been inadvertently scattered due to messy eaters. These seeds have the potential to germinate, making it difficult for your lawn to thrive. So clear away the debris and you’ll stop the chance for unwanted grasses or plants to grow.
2. Sweep it. When snow builds up on your shrubs and evergreens, use a broom to gently remove it. But be careful not to break or tear any branches. Ice, however, is another story. Sometimes ice is more difficult to remove, so many times it’s best to let nature take its course.
3. Sprinkle not pour. No one wants to fall or slip on the ice, which is why salt is used on sidewalks and driveways in the snow belt region. Even so, you can help your lawn and gardens by purchasing “lawn-friendly” salt products that won’t burn your lawn or kill your plants. Use this product sparingly and sprinkle not pour it out in large quantities.
4. Prune it. Winter is a great time to prune your deciduous plants, like roses, hedges and shrubs. As long as your plants are dormant (think mid-November to March), you are good to go. And, don’t forget about your trees. Remove any diseased or dead branches.
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5. Take soil samples. Get a jump on remediating your lawn and garden by getting your soil tested. Knowing your soil’s pH level will help you decide which is the best fertilizer to apply for the upcoming growing season. It’s best to take samples from several different areas around your yard. You can even number and mark these sections so that you can refer back to them once you receive the results.
6. Fertilize. Make it a point to fertilize your lawn with the first sign of spring to combat fungus, weeds and invasive insects. However, wait until the snow has disappeared and the air and ground has warmed up a bit.
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7. Get your string trimmer and mower serviced. Your string trimmer and lawn mower takes a beating during the summer months, so my favorite winter lawn care tips is to get them serviced in winter. And, don’t forget to check the carburetor and spark plugs. Also, you can take advantage of this lag time by restringing trimmer line on extra spools and have your lawn mower blades replaced or sharpened. That way, you’ll be ready for spring’s first mow.
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8. Schedule seasonal lawn care. If you use a lawn service, now’s the time to schedule any services that you think you’ll need for the upcoming growing season. This includes pre-emergent applications, fertilizer and soil enhancements.
9. Manage pet damage. If you have a dog, vary where it does “it’s business”, so as to minimize any damage to the grass below.
10. Cut it back. Tall grass provides a wonderful haven for rodents in winter. So it’s best to cut the taller grass species back in the cold months, thus deterring any roving rodents from making a nest in it. If you can, trim your ornamental grasses back to about 6 inches above ground.
11. Deal with pests. And, speaking of pests, bugs, mice, moles, and voles are just a few animals and insects that can negatively affect the health of your lawn. Look around your gardens and see if any of these varmints have caused any damage. It’s better to know now rather than later.
12. Rake it. Your rake is your super tool. So get a grip on dead grass and debris during winter thaws by breaking up the thatch. Not only will it allow air and sunshine to reach the soil below but it will also encourage new grass growth.
Want your garden to look its best? Then you’ll love these seasonal tips found only in Wisconsin Homemaker’s Garden Section.