Are your yard and garden ready for winter?

Posted by Graham MacKenzie on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 at 8:38am.

November/December Garden Checklist

  • If the rain has been scarce, give all your big trees and shrubs a good soaking before winterizing your sprinkler system.
  • Get the sprinkler system winterized: have the pipes blown out (the cost is generally about $40). This keeps the residual water from freezing and breaking the pipes when the thermometer says “Arctic Blast.”
  • Remove hoses from the hose bibs (where the hose attaches to the house). Drain them well, and put them away.
  • If your garden containers are not frost proof, you need to move them into a garage or shed, or cover them with a rainproof tarp. Damp soil or water will freeze and thaw may cause them to crack or shatter.
  • Before the snow flies in your area, rake up the leaves and add them to the compost pile. If you have a lawnmower, make a pass over them to shred them and make them break down faster. Top dress any garden beds with this leaf mulch. To deter voles from undermining trees and shrubs, keep mulch away from the trunks of these garden plants. 
  • Are you getting a live Christmas tree? Dig the planting hole for it now. (Cover the soil you remove with a tarp so it doesn’t freeze before you can plant the tree).
  • In areas with heavy snowfall you may want to wrap your evergreen shrubs in burlap with twine. This keeps the heavy snow load from breaking branches and keeps the pesky deer at bay as well.
  • When the snow does fly, shovel it up closer to the foundation of your house, to get much needed moisture to your shrubs. This is a garden area that’s often overlooked in the winter, as the eaves of the roofline keep the snow from piling up here. 
  • If you have young fruit trees and their trunks are exposed to frigid, drying winds and bright sunshine, wrap them with tree tape to protect them from sudden temperature fluctuations which can split the bark. You will remove this by mid spring.
  • If you brought plants in the house or garage to overwinter them, inspect them carefully on a regular basis. Warm, dry houses are incubators for scale and mites. Deal with bugs as soon as you discover them.
  • Clean and sharpen your garden tools. If possible, wash and thoroughly dry your gloves, shoes and gardening hats.
  • Sit back and get ready for the seed catalogues to arrive.
  • Wax your skis.

Mary Ann Newcomer Author, Rocky Mountain Gardeners Handbook Dirt Diva, The River Radio, 94.9 fm, Boise,ID

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