After cleaning up your yard and garden, it can feel like a tall order to winterize all your plant life, but you’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra work next spring. There are a number of simple steps you can follow both before and during winter to ensure your lawn, potted plants, and garden plants all come back strong and lush in the spring.
A Clean Lawn is a Happy Lawn
The best way to ensure your lawn comes back strong in the spring is to give it a fighting chance starting in the fall. Apply winterizing fertilizer in the late fall – pellets work great and will slowly release supplements as the lawn absorbs moisture through the winter.
But don’t just lay down fertilizer and call it good. Pull all the weeds you can – you don’t want to kick off the growing season with a weed war. Weeds steal nutrients from your lawn and the spring is when your lawn needs all the help it can get. Aerating also helps lawn roots and soil soak up more nutrients and you can do it on your own with a special pair of shoes.
Make sure you also clean the lawn and remove any sticks or leaves that can kill grass over a long winter. Finally make sure the grass is short (but not too short!) enough that it isn’t going to matt under the snow. Matting can also lead to dead spots come spring.
Potted Plants Inside and Out
Most potted plants will need to head inside for the winter if you live somewhere that regularly sees freezing temperatures. If your plants are dusty or dirty from being outside, set them in the shower and give them a brief rinse – this is no different than a rainstorm. You’ll want to keep dirt off leaves so they can absorb as much sunlight as possible. Keep in mind that coming inside can be a shock, so make sure plants have plenty of sunlight and water and don’t forget them keep them away from drafty areas.
If you know a hard frost is coming and don’t want to move heavier potted plant inside, make sure the soil is as dry as possible – never water if you know a freeze is on the way. Potted plants’ roots are elevated and therefore less protected from the elements. In a pinch, you can wrap a blanket around the pot or surround it with something like hay.
Outdoor Plants Need Love Too
Just because your plants live outside doesn’t mean they’re safe from the elements. Make sure you know how to properly overwinter your specific plants, because all plants need different care. Here’s a good guide for a number of popular plants – you’ll want to do some research about specific care for the plants you have. In general, weed around your plants and prune any dead or weak parts from your plants.
By keeping plants clean and weed free, you can keep your thumb green (and not black) throughout the winter, giving yourself a great jump on gardening this spring.