With cooler fall temperatures arriving in Colorado comes a variety of tasks every homeowner should complete to protect their yard during cold winter months. Our lawn care professionals created this list of items to tackle in order to prepare your yard for winter.
If you have not already done so, aerate your turfgrass. This will lessen soil compaction and allow nutrients and water to penetrate your lawn.
Fertilize using a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 46-0-0. Aim to apply 1 – 1.5 lb Nitrogen per 1000 square feet of turf. This late season formula will boost energy storage for early spring green up.
Complete the last mow of the season
Your last mow of the year should be close to your normal mow height of around 3”. This length will allow for protection of the turf crown while being short enough to not promote snow mold. For more tips on mowing over winter be sure to check out our blog “Should I Mow My Lawn in Winter?”.
Winterize your irrigation system & water features
Prior to the first freeze of the season, your back flow should be drained to protect it from freeze damage. Before the ground begins to freeze, the system should be blown out. This process involves blowing compressed air through your irrigation pipes and heads to ensure that most of the water is removed, which could cause them to freeze and break if not done. Our step by step video below will help you get started.
Wrap tree trunks
Trees with a 6” or less caliper (trunk diameter) and smooth thin bark should have their trunks wrapped over the winter. Tree wrap is available at your local hardware or garden center.
Protect plants with mulch
Mulch aids in protecting plants and trees roots from freezing winter temperatures. Stick to a 3” maximum depth and avoid piling mulch on the trunk of your tree or directly on the stems of your shrubs as this keeps the plant too wet, and, in turn more susceptible to rotting, insects and diseases.
Cut back perennials
Perennials should be cut back this time of year after all foliage has browned. We recommend leaving ornamental grasses and Russian Sage uncut until early spring, as they provide great winter interest in the garden. Be sure to cut them back prior to spring growth resuming.
Remove annual flowers & annual vegetables
Annual flowers and annual vegetables should be removed from your garden and added to your compost bin. This provides them with plenty of time to break down over winter, providing rich compost for planting in the spring. Our Colorado Composting Guide is a great resource if you would like to learn more.
Plant a winter garden
Fall is the perfect time of year to plant winter-friendly crops like garlic, spinach, and beets. Remember to cover them when freezing temperatures are forecasted.
Remember to winter water on days over 40°F
Purchase a moisture meter to check the moisture levels of your plant material over winter months. The best thing you can do for most of your plants is to make sure that the root zone is wet prior to the ground freezing. More information and instruction on winter watering practices is available here.