How To Prepare The Backyard For Winter

A Quick Start Guide To Winterizing Your Pond

You have meticulously kept your yard up through the summer months but soon it will be getting cooler. Landscaping will be a little easier during the winter months, but your yard will need some tender, loving care in order to have it all ready for next spring’s planting. There are several things that are beneficial for getting your backyard ready for the cold winter months so that it will be healthy come spring. Here are some tasks that need to be done before it starts getting too cold.

Time To Prune

One of the first things homeowners think about when the weather starts turning cooler is pruning back their shrubbery and other greenery. While some pruning is good during the fall months, it is advisable to not go overboard with it. Remember that pruning will help promote growth so it’s not good to encourage plants to grow while they are starting to prepare to go totally dormant for the winter months. It can be beneficial to do some moderate pruning of most plants, but there are a few exceptions. Discuss which plants will benefit from pruning with your landscaping professional.

To Feed Or Not To Feed

In the northern US most lawns are seeded with cool weather grasses. This means that they are more active in the cooler months and are typically more dormant during summer. These types of grasses should actually be fertilized twice in fall. The first application should be completed around the middle of September. Homeowners should use a fertilizer which is high in nitrogen. Around Thanksgiving, but before the ground starts freezing another round of fertilizer should be applied. This type of fertilizer needs to be high in phosphorus. These two feedings will help prepare the lawn for the coming months and next year.

Prepare Your Waterscapes

Waterscapes are a popular feature in landscape design today and like plants they need some TLC to survive the winter months. Late fall it is important to make sure any debris is cleaned out of ponds or fountains. Small areas of water like ponds might do better if they are totally covered for the winter months. And they will need to be drained by 25 to 50%. Before it gets too cold make sure to check any equipment that is used for waterscapes like pumps that are used to circulate water. If it is possible, bring the filter and pump in during the winter. Some homeowners might consider a de-icer which turns on when the temperature reaches freezing and keep the water from freezing. An air bubbler works similarly by keeping the top of ponds or other waterscapes from freezing. Any fittings that are being left outdoors through the winter months should be loosened. Otherwise when it starts to get cold and freeze, they will crack.

Planting Bulbs

You may be thinking about winter right now, but it’s the perfect time to plant your bulbs for the coming spring. Typically, smaller bulbs should be planted early in the fall and larger bulbs should be planted in later fall. That is if you want to enjoy their flowers come next spring. Some smaller bulbs that can be planted early in the fall include grape hyacinth or crocus; larger bulbs worth considering are daffodils or tulips.

Transplanting Trees And Shrubs

Fall is the perfect time to transplant any trees or shrubs. Generally, trees like evergreens can be transplanted the first part of September. They need to be in the ground long enough to establish their root system before they have to endure the colder months. Just make sure it is completed before the first freeze.

What About The Flower Beds?

Flower beds are not going to require a huge amount of work, but there are certain things that should be done. First of all, you’ll want to clean out the perennials, especially plants that have a lot of dieback. Dead growth can be detrimental especially because they can help hold moisture in the soil which can promote rot particularly in plants that have heavy root systems like peonies. Many experts recommend leaving ornamental grasses since they can add a touch of beauty during the winter months.