Winter is almost here, which means it’s time to get your lawn, garden, and watering system ready for cold weather.
If you don’t prepare for winter, you can run into problems as the weather drops below freezing. You may burst a pipe, cause cracks in your foundation, or set yourself up for a difficult spring when your lawn and garden thaw out again.
The good news is that winterizing is quite easy. With an hour or two of your time and some simple tools, you can make sure that your landscape and watering system are set up for the winter season. Here are three simple steps to make that happen.
1. Drain and Shut Off Your Watering System
Leftover water stuck in your lines can freeze during the winter time, causing irrigation lines to burst and permanently damaging your watering system.
You can prevent freezing damage by draining your watering system and shutting it off in late fall. The easiest way to do that is to blow compressed air through your lines, clearing them in seconds.
Our end-of-season bundle has all the tools you need to prep your system for winterizing, and you can rent an air compressor for a few dollars from your local home improvement store. We also have a step-by-step winterizing video that shows you exactly what to do to clear out your sprinkler system and turn it off for the winter.
2. Clear Your Garden Beds
Perennial plants grow continuously over multiple years and simply go dormant during winter. But if you have any annual plants — plants that complete their life cycle in a single season and then die — you may want to dig them up in late fall.
Decomposing plant debris and spent vegetables can provide a haven for pests and diseases, keeping them alive and in your garden throughout winter. When spring arrives, your garden may develop a widespread pest problem, or your plants may face an outbreak of disease.
Your best bet is to tidy up your garden beds before winter hits and freezes the ground. Get out your trowel and shovel and dig up annual bulbs, leftover vegetables, leaves and branches, and any other dead or dying plant material. That way you can start spring with fresh, clean soil.
3. Mulch Your Garden
Once you’ve cleared out plant debris, your final winterizing step is to mulch your garden.
A fall layer of mulch protects your plants’ roots from soil-based diseases. In colder climates, it also insulates your garden soil, trapping heat and moisture and protecting roots from frost heave or other ice damage.
Add two to three inches of mulch to your garden in late fall, making sure the mulch covers your plants’ roots.
And once you’ve winterized your watering system and garden beds, you can rest easy. Your land will end the year in good shape, and you’ll see a big difference in the health of your plants when spring comes around.