If you haven’t battened down the hatches and prepared your landscape for the onslaught of Ol’ Man Winter, here are a few tasks that you should surely make time to complete before the snow flies:
• Clean up debris. If any debris has blown in from the neighborhood and is laying on your lawn or under your shrubs, it would by wise to remove it. Debris on your lawn can mat the grass, trap water under it and create an environment for winter fungal diseases. Debris under shrubs can limit water and air getting to the roots before the ground freezes. Besides they make your shrubs look unkempt.
• Take in ceramic & terra cotta containers. Terra cotta and many types of ceramic containers will break when frozen. Even empty containers made of these materials will break.
• Check tree crowns from the ground & arrange for professional inspection if necessary. Walk your property and check the trees. Look up in the crowns to see if you have any broken, drooping or hanging branches. Check the trunk from the ground up for damage to the bark or the presence of mushroom-like fungal fruiting bodies. If you see anything out of the ordinary, contact us for a professional inspection so any necessary repairs can be made before winter storms cause disastrous damage to people or property.
• Compost fallen leaves. Unless your home is in the middle of a forest, leaves shouldn’t be left right where they fall. Like other debris, they can mat, trap water and you’ll have to deal with renovating your lawn because of winter fungal diseases. An easy way to compost those leaves that fall on the lawn is to mulch them in your mower as you mow the grass short at the end of fall. You’ll have to rake or blow those that fall in your beds and then throw them on your compost pile.
• Winterize tools. Winterize your gardening tools before you put them away for the winter. Then you won’t have to remember to do it during the winter or get caught with servicing undone when you need them next spring. At the very least, clean both hand and power tools before putting them away for the winter. Also, drain the gas from the power equipment tanks. Gas can become contaminated if left in the tank for long periods. If you sharpen cutting surfaces, change oil, air filters and spark plugs now, you won’t have to do it in the spring. You’ll be all ready to mow when the grass is ready.
• Don’t Forget The Garden Hoses. If you watered your landscape this past summer, be sure to disconnect the hoses, drain and store them in your garage, shed or basement. Those left out for the winter can crack or break when frozen, especially if they have water in them. If you have no space inside to store them, disconnect them, drain them, coil them and store them in a sheltered place in your yard.
Spring is aptly named here in upstate New York. It often tends to spring forth on us unexpectedly. Unless you’re an avid gardener eagerly awaiting spring’s arrival, it may be here before you’re ready. However, you’ll be a step ahead if you take care of the details recommended here before winter arrives. Then you’ll be prepared when it leaves.