Winter is coming. For the homeowner, winter brings many things. Most important is the decrease in yard maintenance. Before you lose your summer yard maintenance zeal, you ensure that your yard is in the best state for the winter weather. Here are some tips and tricks that I wished I knew my first year as a Denver homeowner.
Rake. Racking leaves can be a tedious chore, but it is a necessary evil. Why?
Leaves are grass killers. Thick layers of leaves compact when moisturized by snow, rain, or frost. Piles of leaves will suffocate your grass. Don’t make the same mistake that I did. I failed to rake my leaves, and it took months to replant grass.
Ticks like shady and damp areas. Piles of decomposing leaves are a tick’s paradise. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would have spared myself the pain of digging that tick out of my dog’s head if I had just raked. If you live in an area where ticks are common, you prevent a tick infestation.
Prune. In Denver an untrimmed trees are vulnerable. Snow and wind storms lead to uprooted trees, and unwieldy branches can cause safety issues.Pruning and trimming trees will ensure tree health and yard safety.Cut any dead or broken branches. You don’t want them falling under the weight of snow at an inopportune time. Fall is the best time to prune your trees.
Deciduous trees shed their leaves. A bare tree will make it easier to tell what branches will need to be cut.
Trees heal slower in the fall. This will give bacteria and fungus the chance to grow. Bacteria and fungus can increase the growth rate of trees.
Remove Dead Annual Plants
Dead plants are an unsightly addition to any yard—unless you’re an Addams. Remove any dead annuals. Annuals are a one season plant, so they won’t grow back in the spring. If you don’t remove dead flowers, they might become infected with pathogens or infested with bug eggs.
Don’t remove perennials. Instead cut them back to soil level. This will prevent disease, and allow them to grow back in the spring. Perennials may look dead, but chances are the bulb will survive the winter. If you’re not sure if your flower is an annual or perennial, you can check here.
Perennials and shrubs are vulnerable to the winter freezes, thaws, and winds. Sudden temperature changes cause heaving—the contraction and expanding of soil—and can cause plants to be pushed from the soil. And plants that begin growing too soon will die when the next cold spell comes. You can mulch your plants with straw, pine needles, shredded leaves, and evergreen boughs.
Summer may be over, but the maintenance that you must give your yard has not ended. Before you burrow into your home, you should pull out your gloves, rake, and shears. With the proper preparation, your yard will remain healthy. This will allow you to jump into spring planting.