Ready or not, winter is right around the corner and with it cold weather, frost, and snow. If your yard is not prepared, the elements can wreak havoc on your plants. Just in case you’ve been putting off the lawn preparation all autumn, here are a few of our very best, last-minute tips to get your yard ready for the winter.
With Jack Frost right around the corner, it’s officially last call for spring bulbs! Generally, we try to plant bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses six weeks before the ground freezes.
For tulips, plant bulbs 6” deep, from the base of the bulb to the soil line, and 4” apart from each other. If you’re planting a medley of bulbs, consider the time of spring they will bloom. For instance, hyacinths are a good indicator that spring has arrived because they are early bloomers. Alliums, on the other hand, will be the last to bloom.
For the perfect bulb fertilizer, create a mixture of sharp sand, Chesapeake Blue (ground-up Chesapeake Bay blue crab and composted wood chips), peat humus and Bulb Booster. To insure healthy bulbs in spring, position them in an area of your yard that gets full sunlight.
If all else fails and you’ve waited too long, you can also buy spring bulbs in pots and transplant them in the spring!
Raspberries & Black Berries
If you’ve grown red raspberries or black berries this summer, now’s the time to prepare your garden for winter and set them up for success next spring. First, you’ll want to narrow the row of canes to 1.5’ – 2’. If you allow them to grow outwards, you’ll increase the risk of plant rot and make the berries more difficult to harvest. During this step, even if the canes look good, cut them back until your row of plants is 2’ wide or less.
Once the row has been narrowed, you’ll want to thin the plants out so that there are 3-4 remaining canes per square foot. Try and remove canes that have fruited this year, and avoid younger ones with bulbs. Afterwards, your plants will look rather thin, but that’s a good thing! Each plant will get plenty of sunlight and the berries will be easily accessible for picking, which means that the next harvest will yield a better crop with less effort.
Next, trim the ends of the canes back by 12-16”. If you’re using trellis wires, you’ll want to secure the remaining canes to the wires using a short biodegradable string or tomato plant clips.
Finally, remember to clean up the ground surrounding your plants. This includes not only plant trimmings but any raspberry or black berry suckers that have sprouted near your plants.
Removing scale insects
Scales are small, immobile parasites that feed off the sap of your trees and shrubs, stunting plant growth. It’s important for the health of your plants this winter to treat any scales that may have built up on your trees or shrubs during the warm months.
If you’re searching for an alternative to poisonous chemical pesticides to treat scales, try Sunspray Ultra-Fine Oil. It physically smothers scales and their eggs and the best part is that it works all winter!
Have more tips?
What are your best secrets for prepping your yard for winter? Leave your tips in the comments below or reach out on Facebook to spread the word!