Winter-Proofing Your Yard
That first frigid gush of cold air will send you into a panic and have you wondering how you can preserve your beautiful yard during the harshest months of the year.
We’ve pieced together a universal guide full of simple tips and tricks for how to winter-proof your yard. Weather conditions vary from region to region, but if you implement the right practices, you can conquer winter—or, at least hunker down long enough for it to go away!
Let’s tackle the biggest part of your yard first, the lawn.
By purchasing cool-season fertilizer and spreading it evenly across the surface of your lawn, you can strengthen your grass and better prepare it for the months ahead. This type of fertilizer is produced with a slightly different makeup of macronutrients than warm-weather fertilizer.
Specifically, cool-season fertilizer contains more nitrogen. On a bag of fertilizer, this will be labeled as (N). Your lawn will readily absorb nitrogen and hold onto it over the winter. Come spring, your grass will utilize this stored up nitrogen to come out of its dormant wintery state faster and stronger.
Before adding this final fertilizer, make sure you’ve already mowed your lawn for the last time. At this stage, your grass shouldn’t be growing any longer, but it also shouldn’t be fully dormant yet.
Caring For Plant Beds
Different kinds of flowers and plants are more sensitive than others to cold temperatures. First, you will want to add a healthy, insulating layer to the topsoil of your flower or plant beds. Mulch, cover crop, and burlap are all effective materials for insulation. Want to find healthy mulch near you?
Some bulbs require cold weather to bloom beautifully in spring, but others won’t handle adverse conditions as well. If you have small plants in your garden that can easily be dug up and repotted, consider bringing them indoors to increase their chances of survival over the winter.
What should you bring indoors?
Cannas, dahlias, elephant ear, and similar bulbs will need to be rescued and brought indoors for the winter. Some gardeners may also opt to take begonias, geraniums, and other types of annuals indoors if possible.
This depends on how much time and energy you’re willing to put in, and if you have ample indoor space to accommodate. If you’re unsure which plants or flowers you might need to rescue over the winter, a simple internet search will provide you with the right information for a given species of flower or plant.
The Last Watering
1-2 weeks before the ground freezes in your area, give your lawn and garden one more generous watering. Be sure to properly soak down trees, perennials, and any newly planted vegetation that will need the extra hydrating boost before winter arrives.
However, once the ground freezes and cold weather has rolled in to stay, you won’t need to continue watering throughout the winter months. After your last, long watering is complete, empty your hose, detach it, and store it in a shed or somewhere away from direct weather exposure.
The same goes for gardening tools, plastic buckets, and other items you don’t want freezing and cracking in your yard when temperatures dip low.
There are plenty of factors at play in winter-proofing your yard ahead of the harshest conditions of the year. Your yard is different from the next yard and the next. Not to mention how drastically the weather and climate changes from northern to southern regions.
By adding nitrogen-rich fertilizer to your lawn, after the last time it was mowed, but before it becomes dormant, you will help fuel your lawn's renewed life in the coming spring.
Make a list of the plants and flowers in your garden and begin determining what can stay in the ground during winter, and what needs to be dug up, repotted, and brought inside.
For the plants, flowers, and bulbs that are staying outside to brace wintery conditions, add mulch or another insulating layer to the topsoil to help feed and protect them for the months ahead.
In need of yard materials? Get your yard prepped and support local businesses at the same time.
What does your yard need?
Good luck managing your yard this winter and see you back here in spring when there will be plenty more yard and gardening tips to get a jump on.