Winterize your lawn and garden for a healthier look in the spring

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

    Autumn is the time to prepare your existing garden for its winter hibernation. Here are some winterizing tips, courtesy of, an online home improvement resource. 1. Walk around your garden and take note of what plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees were successful during the spring and summer season. Clean the area by removing weeds, any diseased plants, and ones that did not grow. 2. Look at your lawn for patchy areas of crabgrass and bald spots. Pull, dig and fork out weeds. You can try weed-control products, but read the directions carefully; you do not want to destroy any nearby plants. 3. Remove any debris under shrubs, roses and trees to prevent pests from hiding out as well as lessen the risk for diseases. 4. As the leaves start to fall, rake them up and use for winter mulch. When snow does fall, leaves left lying around will block air from getting into the ground, causing your grass to dry up underneath and become prone to snow mold disease and damage. 5. Mow your lawn until the first frost comes. If grass is left too long, it will lay over onto itself from the pressure of the snow cover, causing reduced air circulation and snow mold disease. 6. Fertilize and re-seed your lawn twice before the winter -- once in early fall to prepare it for winter and, again, in late October to keep the grass strong throughout the winter. This allows nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium to go straight to the roots and convert into food reserves for a quick start in the spring. 7. Plant new bulbs for spring (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, muscari, crocuses, and perennials such as peonies, daylilies, hostas, and coral-bells). The plant root systems will have several months to grow and become strong before the soil cools. 8. Add mulch around your bulbs, roses, trees, and shrubs. It provides a layer of insulation on top of the soil, preventing sudden changes in soil temperature which can destroy a plant’s root system. Good mulch choices are dried leaves, clean straw, chopped dead tops from other perennials, or evergreen boughs from pruning. Pile it high on top of your plants (a depth of 6 to 8 inches or more is ideal).