There’s a chill in the air, the branches are bare, and the sun is setting much earlier in the evening; All the telltale signs indicate winter is right around the corner! Needless to say, most midwesterners neglect their lawn and outdoor living spaces this time of year, having moved their leisure time and social gatherings indoors. Once the leaves are raked, most homeowners assume their yard work is done until spring, but is it?
Properly winterizing your home’s lawn and landscape protects it during the winter and drastically cuts back on maintenance come spring. Do you know where to start? Download our winter prep checklist to help you tackle the most important tasks!
Clear out all the Leaves
Clear the fallen leaves and debris from all the nooks and crannies of your yard, including gardens, flower beds, patio spaces, and window wells. Not only do undisposed leaf piles rot, they attract insects and little critters needing a place to nest for winter. To avoid an infestation of pesky pests, be diligent with your leaf removal!
Provide Critical Lawn Care
Once your lawn is clear of fallen leaves, you’ll have a clean landscape for additional winterizing preparations. Set your mower to a low setting and give your grass a final cut. This is also an ideal time to aerate and fertilize, which allows water and nutrients to nourish your lawn throughout the winter and helps it grow back lush and green in the spring.
Clear Garden Beds
After your final harvest, compost or discard the remaining crops and produce, as you don’t want anything left to rot, and till the soil.
Prepare Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials
Even the hardiest trees, shrubs, and perennials need a little TLC going into the winter months. Prioritize trimming dead, damaged, or obtrusive tree branches prior to the first snow. Branches break easily under the weight of heavy ice and snow, posing risk of significant damage for anything in their path. Protect baby and cold sensitive trees and shrubs with wraps or fresh mulch to provide insulation and protect moisture. Before the first frost, cut perennials down to a few inches of their base.
Winterize Exterior Home Features
Failing to properly winterize the exterior of your home can create major interior problems, especially wherever water is concerned. Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Drain irrigation systems and detach hoses to protect your pipes, spigot, and faucet from freezing. Be sure to also clear areas of leaves and debris surrounding exterior vents and electrical outlets.
Check for gaps along the sides of windows, doors, and the foundation of your home where drafting might occur. Insulate as needed to prevent heat loss once your furnace kicks on. While you’re at it, be sure to swap out that old furnace filter with a fresh one!
Store the Essentials
Clean and store all lawn and landscaping tools, paying special attention to your lawnmower and weed eater. Residual grass clippings collect condensation and will corrode your equipment. Thoroughly clean and dry before storing in your shed or garage. You’ll also want to either drain the gas or store it with a full tank treated with a fuel stabilizer to prevent stale gasoline from damaging the carburetor or engine over the winter. Relocate winter tools, such as shovels, snow blowers, and de-icing materials, somewhere with easy access.
Need a hand as you prepare your home’s exterior for winter? Give Groundscapes of Lincoln a call and we’ll help you prep for winter.