Winter is peeking around the corner and ready to cast a frost across the garden you’ve carefully cultivated all spring and summer. The gardening pros from the Chicago Flower & Garden show have shared some tips with us to help prepare our garden for winter, and our friends at Greenworks have the tools to help you do it.
Keep Watering Your Garden
Continue to water your plants and lawns in the fall, as we tend not to have the rainfall in the fall that we do in the main growing months. It’s easy to think because trees and flowers are losing their leaves that they no longer need water, and this is not true. Plants need to stay hydrated just like humans. This allows the plants to properly retreat to their winter states.
Know Your Lawn
Certain lawn grass will go dormant and turn brown in the winter. If this is the type of lawn you have, it’s tempting to overwater it thinking it is dying. Just maintain as you would during the summer and don’t go overboard trying to “save it”. You can still mow it and keep the weeds away.
Avoid the gas and go with a battery powered mower like the 60V from Greenworks, as it will be much easier to maintain over the winter compared to gas.
Clean Up Flower Beds
Remove annuals from flower beds and add them to compost. Annuals left in beds can often lead to rot and effect the rest of your garden. You can make way for planting new flowers by cleaning up your flower beds and turning the soil. This will best prepare your garden soil for spring.
Test Your Soil
Think about having your soil tested now so you can add things to amend it for healthier soil in the spring. Amending your soil in the winter allows the minerals and fertilizer to settle into your soil, which is healthier for your plants compared to just doing it in the spring.
Don’t horde your winter flowers. Split and replant perennials and/or share them with friends. If you are in need of new flowers, you may find some deals at your local nursery.
Replace Summer Bulbs
When removing summer bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolus, plant spring bulbs in their place such as tulips and daffodils.
Mixup Your Bulb Plantings
Consider planting bulbs in different directions to naturally delay their bloom time and stagger blooms for a longer season. For example, plant the lowest layer on its side to the right, the next on its side to the left, and the final upright.
Shred Your Leaves
When raking leaves, shred them before making compost layers with them or using them as mulch. It helps the layer of leaves to decompose more quickly, and in using them as mulch, it allows the soil to breathe better.
Use a blower around your leaves instead of a rake which can more easily damage delicate flowers. Using leaves to protect perennials and shrubs planted late in the season can help them if the winter is harsh.
Prepare pots on your porches for fall plantings. Consider removing everything and cleaning your pots before planting fall items. At the end of the fall season, cut off plants and add holiday greens and branches before the pots freeze and it becomes too difficult to insert the pine and branches.