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Get your lawn and yard ready for winter


There’s a change in the air. It’s a bit cooler. The days are less humid. The grass is growing a bit more slowly.

Before you pack up your garden tools, get your lawn and yard ready for winter, so you can take it a bit easier in the spring. Here are some tips for winterizing your great outdoors.

1.    Don’t stop mowing yet. While you might be tempted to put away the mower for the winter, stay on schedule with mowing every two weeks, keeping it to the minimum desired height, which reduces the possibility of fungus damage from the snow.

2.    Rake out the dead weight. Protect your lawn by removing all the dead leaves and debris, which will damage your grass. Raking now will save you the time of repairing your lawn next spring.

3.    Fertilize the lawn. The fall lawn fertilizing doesn’t promote new growth—which isn’t a good idea right before dormancy—but provides the potassium that your grass needs to survive a cold winter. Be sure to use a winterizing fertilizer.

4.    Prune your perennials. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to cut back the perennials to three to four inches high.

5.    Clean and feed your garden. Remove all the dead plants, twigs, and leaves. Give the soil a pre-winter boost by adding lime to enhance the pH over the winter. Then, lay down a bed of straw to protect weather-sensitive plants.

6.    Pre-emptively weed out the weeds. In mid-November, apply weed control to kill their roots during the winter, rather than allowing them to remain dormant till spring.

7.    Protect your pipes. The water from your exterior faucets can freeze and cause pipes to burst inside your home’s walls. To prevent the damage, remove and drain any hoses. Stash them away for the winter. Shut off the water supply to your exterior faucets. Turn on the faucets to drain any remaining water. Leave the faucet open and go back to the shut-off valve. Open the bleeder cap (it’s a small cap or valve). Once the water has drained, close the plug, and then turn off the outside faucet.

8.    Don’t prune your trees! While you’re outside cutting back your perennials, don’t give in to the temptation to prune your trees. Those open wounds heal slowly in the cold weather, allowing fungus to spread.

If you live in an Epcon community, your exterior lawn care is usually included in your HOA fee. So, you can sit back, enjoy your private courtyard, and get ready for the holiday season.