Preparing for Winter Weather

The winter weather is getting colder, and it won't be long until the ground is covered in snow. Before you get out the snow thrower and shovels, now is the time to put away your gardening equipment and prepare your lawn and garden for winter weather. When the weather warms up next spring, you'll be ready to go.

Follow these lawn and garden tips to help create a better start to your gardening season next year:

  • Think about your current garden plan. Did some plants grow poorly? Did others catch diseases? Now is a good time to decide what to plant next year. Remember to take pictures and write down which plants did well.
  • Remove weeds and annuals from your garden, and trim dead leaves and wood from trees and shrubs. Skip the pruning, however. Pruning encourages growth and plants should be preparing to hibernate.
  • Consider planting a cover crop, like clover, for the winter. You can till it under when spring arrives. It will prevent soil erosion and help enrich the soil for spring. You can also put a layer of mulch over your garden to protect the soil.
  • Make sure to screen vulnerable evergreens and trees with burlap to protect them from harsh winter winds.
  • Don't forget about your lawn. Rake up fallen leaves and cut the grass one last time. If you have a compost bin, add the leaves and clippings to your pile.
  • If you'll be bringing potted plants inside for winter, keep them in your garage for a few days so they adjust to the temperature change.
  • Clean and sharpen your gardening tools, and repair any broken parts so you'll be ready to go in the spring. Remember to empty and clean gardening containers, and put hoses away. Store them in a dry, covered location.

Preparing for winter may be different depending where you live. Cold-climate gardeners will have additional work to prepare and protect plants, while their warmer-climate counterparts may be able to continue gardening year-round.