As the days get shorter and temperatures creep downward, it’s not the time to retreat into the house and begin our winter hibernation, especially this year when we’ve already spent a lot of time inside. There’s still plenty to do outside to prepare our landscapes for winter.
Here is a checklist of recommended projects to ensure your landscape has a good winter and is ready in the spring. This is nearly as complete of a list as possible. I realize that some items may not apply to you and some items that apply to you may not apply to your neighbors. Some items may remind you of things you have to do that aren’t on the list.
- Clean up all trash that has blown on to your property.
- Remove dead stems and leaves from perennials. Toss them onto the compost pile.
- Divide perennials.
- Rake, blow or mow fallen leaves for mulch or compost.
- Apply grub control if your lawn needs it.
- Lower your mower blade to 2”-2 ½” and mow your lawn for one last time.
- Prepare your lawn mower and other power tools for winter storage, following the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Put your deck or patio furniture in storage.
- Take your containerized plants indoors or place them in a cold frame for the winter.
- Finish harvesting veggies from your vegetable garden.
- Apply anti-desiccant to evergreens.
- Wrap tender young trees.
- Critter proof trees and shrubs.
- Mulch trees, shrubs and planting beds.
- Fertilize as necessary
Have us inspect your trees and remove any hazards.
Just in case you’re tempted to wait until spring to do some or all items on the list, let me remind you that there will be another list of projects in the spring to prepare your landscape for the growing season. You may not want to add the work you put off now to that list. Postponing things like putting your deck or patio furniture in storage, winterizing your outdoor power equipment or removing fallen leaves may lead to performing repairs in the spring. So, now that you’ve read the list, check off those that apply to you and schedule them. According to the calendar, fall has begun so there’s no time to waste.
Our list of chores has changed significantly since the fires and the Coronavirus. It is a long story, but our priorities now involve removal of combustible vegetation and hazardous trees from formerly unoccupied parts of the landscaped area. Fire season does not end until after the rainy season starts and gets the forest wet. (Because of the Coronavirus, the facilities are closed. Because of the fires, the lodges accommodated the firefighters, and then as the firefighters left, the volunteers who came to help those who lost their homes. The otherwise unused cabins are not accommodating some of those who lost their homes.)