The Essential Guide to Winterizing Your Property

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Are you busy readying your home or property for the fast-approaching winter? Whether you own a DR Power product or not, our eBook guide to getting ready for winter will save you time, money, and headaches. This free 25-page guide covers everything you need to know before the snow starts to fall.

Transcript of The Essential Guide to Winterizing Your Property

  • THE EssEnTial GuidE To WinTErizinG Your ProPErTY

  • Getting Your landscape ready for Winter Page 3Here are some suggestions for ways to keep all your landscape plants safe and snug until spring.

    How about a sand Barrel? Page 6A scoop of sand can keep you from sliding a long way.

    Plant Bulbs now for a Colorful show next spring Page 7Tuck a few in the ground in the fall and, for very little effort, youre rewarded with a dazzling show in the spring.

    Taking the Chill off Page 8No matter where they live, most people must heat their homes for at least a portion of the year.

    Clean out Those Gutters Page 10Avoid costly damage with a quick cleaning of your gutters.

    Proper storage of Your Power Equipment Page 11A little time spent on maintenance before storing your equipment will pay big dividends next season and for many years to come.

    Winterizing Your lawn Page 12A lawn is a living organism that needs to be taken care of all year round even when the mowing season is over.

    Just say no to potholes! Page 14Potholes can get bigger and deeper over the winter if you dont address the problem now.

    dr Field and Brush Mower Page 15Safety First, Last, and Always.

    For the Birds Page 17Feeding birds is fun!

    Fall Brush-Mowing Projects Page 18Create new, natural environments on your property.

    THE EssEnTial GuidE To WinTErizinG Your ProPErTY

  • Page 3THE EssEnTial GuidE To WinTErizinG Your ProPErTY

    Getting Your landscape ready for WinterFall is a season of winding down. The days grow shorter, the nights turn frosty. But its also a busy season, one of preparation for the colder months ahead. A little time spent now readying your yard and garden for winter will bring the reward of healthy, undamaged plants next spring. Here are some sug-gestions for ways to keep all your landscape plants safe and snug until spring.

    Trees and shrubsOne of the most effectiveand easiestthings you can do to help your trees and shrubs make it through the winter in good condition is to water them well in late fall. Winter may not seem like a dry season, the snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain that falls in much of the country. But when the ground is frozen, the roots of plants cant take up water to offset the drying effects of winter wind and sun.

    This is most commonly a problem on broad-leaved and needle-type evergreens, such as rhododendrons and yews, that retain their leaves through the winter. Called leaf scorch or windburn, the injury shows up in the spring as brown-ing on the tips of branches, usually on the side most exposed to winter wind and sun. Deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves over the winter) are less susceptible to this type of damage than evergreens, but some, especially shal-low rooted plants such as dwarf fruit trees, may suffer dieback at the ends of branches if they go into winter thirsty. Give all your woody plants a good drink after the leaves have fallen from the trees, but before the ground freezes.

    Garden books often suggest planting evergreens susceptible to winter injury on the north or east side of your house, where theyll be more protected from the ravages of wind and sun. Its good advice, but it doesnt always fit with your landscape plan. If you choose to place evergreens in exposed locations, you can provide them with additional protection by erecting a screen made of burlap or shade cloth wrapped around stakes driven into the ground around the plant.

    Early fall is a good time for planting trees and shrubs in many parts of the country. The cooler and wetter weather that accompanies the change of the seasons helps plants become well established before cold weather sets in. And roots continue to grow until the soil temperature reaches about 30, usually several weeks after the air temperatures hit the freezing mark. Spread a 4-6' layer of mulch around the base of newly planted trees and shrubs in mid-fall to keep the soil moist and encourage continued root growth. But dont put it any closer to the trunks than about 6'. A layer of mulch up against the trunk will interfere with the natural development of winter hardiness and is an appealing spot for mice to take up residence over the winter. Its also a good idea in early fall to pull back the mulch from around the bases of established plants that were mulched during the summer.

  • Page 4THE EssEnTial GuidE To WinTErizinG Your ProPErTY

    Tiny mice and voles can cause big problems by nibbling on tasty bark under the snow. They are especially partial to the tender bark of young fruit trees and crabapples and can kill trees if their gnawing girdles the trunk. To prevent this kind of damage, place cylindrical cages made of hardware cloth or plastic tree guards around the trunks of susceptible plants in early fall. Remove plastic guards in the spring; check wire cages periodically to see that they dont con-strict the trunk as the tree grows.

    Plastic tree guards or commercial tree wrap paper help to protect against anoth-er form of winter injury called sunscald. Weve probably all seen young trees with long cracks in the bark, usually on the southwest side of the trunk. This damage is the result of rapid temperature changes in the bark. First the sun reflecting off the snow warms the bark; then when the sun sets or goes behind a cloud, the bark temperature drops suddenly, causing cracking and splitting. The same sort of injury can occur in early spring when the sunlight is stronger, but the air is still cool. Young trees with thin bark are most susceptible to this kind of injury. Put protective wraps on in mid-fall and remove them once the weather warms up in spring.

    Your trees and shrubs may look lovely blanketed in white, but too much snow can spell disaster. Heavy wet snow or ice, especially if its followed by wind, can break off limbs. Evergreens with upright branches, such as yews, upright juni-pers and arborvitae, are most at risk. These plants can be wrapped with twine or plastic-coated wire to support their branches. Wooden tepees offer protection for low growing plants that might be injured by snow sliding off a roof. When ice coats branches, theres little you can do but pray for no wind and a quick thaw. But if heavy snow weighs down your evergreens, its best to try to lighten the load. Shake branches carefully or use a broom to gently brush snow off by pushing it upwards.

    rosesIn order to enjoy the beauty of a perfect rose next summer, gardeners in the northern parts of the country (Hardiness Zones 6-4) need to give their hybrid roses some special attention in the fall for them to make it safely through the winter. As with trees and shrubs, making sure roses are well watered in late fall is an important first step. Then some winter protection is in order. But dont put it in place too soon or youll do more harm than good. Roses gradually become dormant and increase their hardiness in response to the decreasing tem-peratures and shortening days of fall. Covering them too early in the season will inhibit this natural process. Rake up and destroy fallen leaves that might harbor diseases, but leave the rest of the work until late fall.

    Just before the ground freezes, bring in some soil from another part of the gar-den and mound it up about 10-12' high around the roses stems. Make sure the soil isnt heavy clay that might smother the plant. And dont succumb to the temptation to simply pull some soil up from around the base of the plant. This will expose the root system to winter damage.

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    In the colder sections of Zone 5 and in Zone 4, even more protection is needed. First, cut back the canes to about 2'. Then, after mounding soil around the crown, build an enclosure around the rose that is at least 3' higher than the plant. The enclosure can be made of wire mesh or burlap stretched around stakes. Fill the enclosure with straw, dry oak leaves, wood chips or other porous material that wont pack down excessively. Some tip dieback may occur, but will be removed when you prune the canes in the spring.

    Flowering PerennialsEarly fall is a good time to plant many flowering perennials. In fact, peonies and Oriental poppies do best when planted in the fall. Get plants in the ground 8-10 weeks before the ground freezes so they have time to develop a good root system before cold weather sets in.

    Well-developed roots anchor plants in the ground and help prevent damage over the winter from frost heaving. This occurs when the soil alternately freezes and thaws over the winter, thrusting plants out of the soil and exposing roots to injury from cold and desiccation. The best way to prevent frost heaving is to keep the soil frozen throughout the winter. Snow cover is a great insulator, but mulch is usually more reliable in keeping soil temperatures stable. In late fall, after the ground freezes, spread a 3-4' layer of a loose organic mulch such as straw, shredded bark or chopped leaves over the soil. While it certainly wont hurt to mulch the entire garden, if youre short on mulch or energy, concentrate your efforts on newly planted perennials and those that are shallow rooted, such as coral bells (Heuchera).

    lawn CareLawn grasses fall into two main categories: cool-season grasses such as blue-grass, perennial ryes and fescues, grown in most of the northern half of the country and warm-season grasses, such as Burmuda, zoysia and centipede, grown in the warmer southern states. Your fall lawn care chores will depend on which of these kinds of grasses make up your lawn.

    Cool-Season Grasses: Gradually reduce mowing height down to 1'. Now is a good time to test your soil and add lime, if its needed. Late August to mid-September is the best time to seed new lawns or repair established ones.

    Warm-Season Grasses: These gr