As Mother Nature winds down for a long season of sleep, there is work to be done to winterize your plants and landscaping. Here are five things to put on your to-do list.
1. Clean leaf debris from your gardens – When the wind pushes leaves up around your plants, it could also invite some springtime problems. Leaf build up in the garden can promote of host of diseases and fungi, damaging your plants right at the time when you most want to see that fresh wash of green around your home after a long winter. So this fall rake those leaves away from your perennials and from your lawn for a healthy start to spring.
2. Know your numbers – You’ve probably heard fall fertilization is important for the health of your lawn. But why? And what should you use? As the outward signs of life slowly fade in nature, there is still a lot happening under the ground. Fall fertilization promotes root strength, which helps grass endure the winter and emerge stronger and greener in the spring. The type of fertilizer you use matters. Fertilizers are labeled with a string of three numbers. They represent nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium levels. For fall, choose a fertilizer that has the largest numbers at the end for a higher level of potassium, which promotes root growth.
3. To cut or not to cut, that is the hydrangea question – It’s tempting to cut back all your plants as we head into winter. But when it comes to your hydrangeas, this isn’t a wise strategy…if you want flowers next year. Next summer’s blooms are already programmed into the plant stalks you see right now. While cutting the plant at its base won’t kill it, it may prevent it from producing flowers the following season. Wait until spring to determine which stalks are viable and which ones are dead. Clip the dead ones and allow the healthy stalks to move along in their journey of producing beautiful blooms.
4. Bring on the bulbs – If you are a fan of tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and a vast array of other bulb flowers, now is the time for action. Shop early for best selection and plant bulbs six to eight weeks before the ground freezes. An ideal time is when nighttime average temperatures are in the 40 to 50 degree range. Here in Michigan and northern Indiana, this is usually in late September and October.
5. Roll up the hoses - When you are finished watering gardens, washing down lawn furniture for storage, and cleaning off pots and planters, drain your hoses and bring them inside. This will increase the life of your hoses. Also, turn off the water to your outdoor faucets from inside the house and then drain the remaining water. This eliminates the chance of your faucets freezing and pipes bursting.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with winterizing your lawn and garden, we can help. Our team of lawn and garden experts can help you prepare your plants for successful winter sleep and an even more successful spring. Call us at 269-473-1356 or contact us online.