Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter

I am always looking for interesting articles to share that might help with fair open class or 4-H/FFA projects. Here is one on gardening, enjoy!

Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter

By Linn County Master Gardener Intern, Danielle Wangsness

As shorter and much cooler days become the norm, now is the time to get out and do a final garden cleanup.  Cooler temperatures and a bug free work zone make for a pleasant working environment.  Taking care of your garden now will help save you time and effort come spring.

Continue to water trees and shrubs until the ground freezes hard, especially newly planted trees.  Evergreens will also need to be watered adequately as well.  This is due to the fact that they don’t lose their leaves and they continue to transpire, give off water vapor, through the winter months.

Consider putting wire or plastic tree guards around new trees and shrubs to protect from gnawing animals such as rabbits and mice.  When putting guards in place; remember to make it high enough to go over the typical snow line in that area of your yard.

Pull out all frost-killed annuals and plant remains from your garden.  Look around and do any final weeding in your beds.  Decide if you want to cut down dying perennial foliage or not.   Some gardeners like to leave seed heads and dried foliage for winter interest and to feed birds, while others prefer to leave neat beds ready for a show of spring-flowering bulbs. But remember: whatever you clean up now, you don’t have to worry about in the spring.

Keep raking those leaves.  Leaves left on the grass will smother the lawn.  Leaves can be shredded and used as winter mulch for flower beds.  They also can be added to a compost pile.  In a season or so, the leaves will make wonderful compost for your garden beds.

Do a final grass mowing; long grass encourages the growth of low temperature loving fungi.  If you spray your lawn to kill weeds, October if the most effective time to do so.  Now is also the time to apply a winter fertilizer to the lawn.  Consider getting you mower serviced and blade sharpened now so come spring it is ready to go.

Finally, drain and put away any garden hoses and disconnect any rain barrels you have in your garden.  Wash with soap and water all garden tools.  Before putting metal tools away, rub them with a bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting

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