Preparing Your Landscape For Winter

As fall fades and winter approaches, so begins a transition with your landscape. What was fresh and green just weeks ago is now leaving us until spring. But preparing your landscape for winter is an important step in getting it ready for the growing season ahead. And there are several important tasks that should be completed to ensure your landscape thrives.

Mowing: Continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing. This will likely occur around early- to mid-November, depending on weather patterns. Cutting your lawn one last time before winter is an important step that many people skip. Longer grass tends to mat under the weight of snow which can be damaging. A height of three inches is ideal. If leaves are covering your yard, mow over them. Shredded leaf particles distribute much needed nutrients back to your lawn. You can read additional leaf removal tips here.

Landscape Clean-Up: Once you’ve mowed for the last time, the next step is to clean your lawn and landscape of debris. This includes removing sticks, grass clippings, or anything else that could prevent sunlight from reaching your lawn. Debris should be removed from flowerbeds, as well. Grasses and other perennial plants can be cut back and dead plants should be removed and replaced.

Applying Fertilizer: After cleaning debris from your landscape, you are now ready to apply fertilizer. Fertilizing in the fall is an important step in making sure your lawn gets off to a good start in the spring. There are a number of brands that produce a variety of fall fertilizer products, and many of these products vary in their specific uses.

The first thing to understand about fertilizer is the formula, which is represented by three numbers. Take for instance 5-10-5. The first number represents nitrogen, which promotes growth of the grass blade. The second number stands for phosphorus, which helps root growth. The third is for potassium, which promotes cell function. A best practice at Engledow is to use phosphorous-free fertilizer due to the damaging effect of phosphorous on our water sources. With that in mind, we would suggest an early November application formula of 13-0-12.

Pruning: DON’T! Spring blooming plants, trees, and shrubs have already developed their buds. Pruning them will only harm spring’s bloom. Non-spring blooming plants and trees should be pruned in the dead of winter when they are completely dormant. Pruning now will only encourage new growth which could damage the plant once winter arrives.

Planting: If you enjoy gardening, you’re in luck because fall is for planting. The cooler temperatures and increased rain of autumn make it the perfect time to restore parts of your landscape that may not have survived through the hot, dry summer months. In addition to replacing plants, now is also the time to plant bulbs. You can learn more about fall planting here.

Creating and maintaining a beautiful landscape is not easy. Your landscape requires attention through all seasons, not just spring. In fact, fall is one of the most critical seasons for your landscape as what you do, or don’t do, will affect the health of your lawn and landscape come spring time.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the landscape at your home or office, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 317.575.1100 or simply fill out the form below.


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