Get Your Landscape Ready—Here Comes Winter!

With just a little preparation this month, you can head off a whole lot of springtime landscape headaches. Here’s your to-do list:

While cool-season grasses stay green until the snow flies, warm-season types turn brown at the first touch of frost. The simple solution: Overseed now with annual ryegrass. It’ll take off in a flash, stay green all winter, then fade away just as your warm-season turf is gearing up for spring.

If wintertime temps in your area routinely plunge below zero, protect young trees from snow and ice damage with this super-simple trick: Just surround each tree with tomato cages, line them with newspaper, and fill ‘em up with leaves or straw. Your trees will be snug as bugs in a rug all winter long!

In extremely cold regions, remove the plants from their supports and bend them down to the ground (carefully so as not to break the stems!). Cover the plants with 6 inches of soil, wait until the ground has frozen, and then add enough straw mulch to cover the mound to a depth of about 3 inches.

Too much growth in late summer leaves your berry bushes vulnerable to damage by Old Man Winter. So what can you do to prevent that from happening? It’s simple; unless you need to get rid of diseased wood, halt all pruning at least a month before you expect the first frost. That way, new canes will have time to harden off before cold weather hits.

Spread a thick layer of newspaper over the tilled garden, add a layer of leaves over that, and top it all off with straw. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that this is the worms’ very favorite bedtime blanket. Come spring, your planting beds will be rarin’ to grow!