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10 Tips to Prepare your Yard for Winter

Last modified: 2019-03-13 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Amanda Harvey

As this beautiful season comes to a close, we begin to lose the lustre of the colours of Autumn and make for the grey skies of November. Whether you find winter enchanting or depressing, its imminent arrival requires some preparation so that your property can deal with the harsh months of cold. But how can you prepare your lawn for the rigours of winter

How to prepare your front and back yard for winter

1- Mulch

Synonymous with protection for the base and roots of your plants, mulch has the added advantage of deterring any weed growth on your soil. It should be noted that a 3 to 5 cm thickness is necessary for perennials and annuals but for trees, around 7 to 10 cms are required. 

2- Water your hedge

This simple precaution will prevent you from discovering a very sad looking hedge in the spring. Conifers don’t fall dormant when the winter arrives, so they should have access to water on the sunny winter days as photosynthesis continues. Make sure that your hedges receive at least 2.5 cm of water each week. 

gardening tools

3- Protect your hedges, shrubs, and trees from the cold

Regarding the amount of protection you should apply to hedges, shrubs, and trees, it should be noted that shrubs located on the outer edges or those exposed to high winds, should be covered. If there are areas exposed to excessive snowfall, these also need to be looked after. 

As a guide, it’s recommended that you avoid using polythene or plastic bags as well as black geotextiles. This is because these will literally stifle the shrubs and damage them irrevocably. Instead, consider using jute fabrics in white geotextile. Before installing the burlap and after falling leaves, tie the branches with jute rope. 

To prevent damage to the trunks of your trees by rodents, protect these with plastic sheaths.

4- Protect your compost

First of all, we’d recommend keeping a few bags of crumpled leaves as an ingenious way to balance out your compost for the next season, the leaves must absolutely contain a share of dried residues. 

As it’s common to see shrubs affected by a disease, some precautions are necessary if you don’t want to see the problem spread elsewhere. In this regard, be certain that residues removed or cut from the plant or shrub are not mixed with the rest of the compost, as it will be otherwise contaminated. Distributing it into the rest of the landscape will increase the chances of seeing other plants fall ill. 

5- Spread fertilizer

Autumn fertilizer is remarkably effective when it comes to helping plants to restore enough reserves for the harshness of winter. The potassium present inside these will help to strengthen plants and give them another chance at life next summer. 

landscaping

6- Rake the leaves?

This is a controversial question. If you don’t want to pick up the autumn leaves (but why not? It’s such a pleasant task) then you’ll need to cut them into very small pieces with a shredder and make sure that they’re evenly distributed across the ground. Otherwise, it’s necessary to invest the few hours which you’ll need to remove the leaves. 

7- Maintain your lawn

To help your soil to grow back next spring, we’d recommend mowing it and leaving it at a height of 5 cm. Once this step has been completed, apply compost and seeds to any clear spots. As soon as spring arrives, your soil will be able to grow back and relive under the warmth of the sun.

grass under the sun

8- Remove clumps of leaves or branches

A pile of leaves or wood could attract small rodents, ants, as well as other insects that may choose to burrow there. The situation can be problematic if these same clusters are anywhere near the home. Indeed, if your walls are not equipped with anti-intrusion mouldings, rodents can make their way into the walls of your home.

9- Close the pool

When mid-October arrives, the time to close your pool has come. This moment officially puts an end to summer activities, but needs to be done as a certain succession of steps, as high-lighted on the CAA-Quebec website:

  • The passage of a vacuum cleaner;
  • Countercurrent cleaning;
  • The pH adjustment of the pool;
  • Performing a chlorine treatment (slightly above the usual dose to create the equivalent of a shock treatment);
  • Cleaning the canvas with a damp cloth;
  • Lowering of the water level to 30 cm below the edge of the pool;
  • Draining pipes: if you have an above ground pool, simply unplug it. If your pool is inground, use a leaf cleaner. 

10- Empty the hoses

To prevent the pipes from bursting, drain the irrigation system as well as the water outlets such as garden hoses and outside faucets. Emptying them of old water will prevent your pipes from freezing during the winter.

When should you begin preparing the ground for winter?

It may be tempting to procrastinate on closing your land, but putting overnight tasks back into the spotlight may prevent you from completing the project. As with rain, the cold days come on quickly and this could leave you with a lack of time when you look at the number of things that need to be completed. To avoid this unpleasant situation, we’d recommend starting these tasks in mid-September.

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