Getting Ready for Winter - Final Lawn Care Tasks

Fall has finally arrived and although we are dealing with cooler temperatures, we still have some beautiful, sunny days.  It’s important to take advantage of these last warmish days and perform a few final lawn care tasks before those first flakes of snow fall. By taking care of a few items now, your lawns and gardens will survive the harshest elements of winter and grow hearty and green in the spring.

  1. General Tidying Up

Instead of leaving your dead plants and flowers in the garden for you to deal with in the spring, get outside now and clear out the garden. Pull up any weeds and remove any large leaves that may be showing signs of black spot, especially from around rose bushes. Leaving these can cause your plants to be diseased next year.

Speaking of leaves, raking up leaves from your elm, oak and maple trees may seem like a never-ending task, but leaving them on your lawn can actually do more harm than good. They won’t bio-degrade during the winter and can actually suffocate your lawn, or cause mold and other diseases to appear in the spring.  Smaller leaves can be raked up and used to cover your gardens to help protect it during the winter.

  1. Dormant Seeding

If your lawn is spotty or you have bare spots, dormant seeding is a great way to ensure your lawn looks great in the spring. Seeding just before the ground freezes, but the temperatures are cold ensure the seed won’t germinate until the warmer ground and air temperatures of spring.

The seed needs contact with the soil, so a bit of ground preparation is needed. For smaller areas, a hand rake can be used to loosen the top centimetre of soil, but if your entire lawn could use some seed, renting a large power rake may be necessary. Don’t confuse this with an aerator – you only need to scrape up the top layer of dirt.

The seed can be spread per the package specifications, ensuring the seed is slightly incorporated into the loosened soil. The seed will need to be kept moist, so using your in-ground sprinkler system briefly is a great way to water your whole lawn. Just be sure to not overwater – cooler temperatures will retain moisture longer.

  1. Winterize Your Irrigation System

After your seed, it’s important to properly drain and winterize your irrigation system to avoid pipes and components being damaged during the winter freeze. Some in-ground sprinkler systems have automatic or manual drains, which reduces the water pressure and allows remaining water to drain out of the valves and pipes. However, if your irrigation system is older, your pipes may have settled, leaving the risk of pooling water, therefore freezing and cracking pipes.

A fool-proof irrigation winterizing method is using compressed air to blow-out the pipes and valves. This method can be dangerous and should only be done by professionals like those at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa Irrigation.