Lawn and Garden

Get Yard, Garden Ready for Winter

With the onset of winter just around the corner, now is the time to prepare your lawns, gardens, and landscapes for the months ahead.

  • Remove leaves and mow lawns one last time after growth has stopped to reduce hiding areas for moles and mice, and reduce incidence of snow mold on turf in the early spring.
  • Fertilize lawns in late November to early December with a slow-release form of nitrogen at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to promote root development and early spring green-up.
  • Remove garden debris and weeds to reduce incidence of disease and insects in the spring.
  • If dry conditions exist, water lawns, trees, and shrubs until the ground begins to freeze to prevent winter desiccation.
  • Add mulches to prevent heaving of strawberries and perennials during periods of freezing and thawing. Mulches around trees and shrubs will reduce the need for weeding in the spring, help conserve moisture, and moderate soil temperatures.
  • Aerate the lawn and overseed to reduce soil compaction and thatch buildup and to improve turf density.
  • Wrap plants in exposed areas or those on south or west foundations with burlap to reduce desiccation, protect tender flower buds, and support plants susceptible to snow load breakdown.
  • Protect trees and shrubs from mice and rabbits by enclosing the base of these plants with hardware cloth.
  • For a tree exhibiting poor growth with root feeders past the tree’s dripline, fertilize at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of area under the tree.
  • Store garden chemicals properly for the winter. Check product labels to see if freezing will harm the products.
  • Drain hoses and sprayers and check owner’s manuals for instructions on how to winterize mowers and other power equipment.
  • Clean and lightly oil metal parts of hand tools and inventory those that need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Secure and fill birdfeeders.

John Jett
Horticulture Specialist
WVU Extension Service

This article was published in the November 2000 issue of West Virginia Farm Bureau News.