10 Ways To Prepare Your Garden for Winter

10 Ways To Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Winter is sneaking up on us again this year. While it may feel like you were just enjoying your summer perennials last week, it’s already time to begin thinking about how you’ll give your garden a fresh start for spring. Despite popular belief, next season’s success starts with this year’s cleanup.

Read on for the top 10 ways to prepare your garden for winter to have your best landscape year yet.

10 Ways To Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Raking the leaves isn’t the only thing that classifies as winter landscape prep. You should consider adding a few more items to your to-do list for the best results.

1. Watering and fertilizing

You don’t have to do as much watering to your lawn in the fall as you did during the peak summer months. The ground will stay cool and moist when the weather changes. Just be sure your soil isn’t drying out, and give it some water if needed.

However, it is vital that you fertilize before the first frost to give your garden a thriving start in the spring. You’ll want to consider a slow-release fertilizer that will provide it with nutrients through the winter. It’s best to use this after your plants or shrubs have become dormant and definitely before the first frost. Be sure to include deep watering for your shrubs and trees into your routine to encourage deep root growth. You can do this until the ground freezes.

2. Mulching

It’s a good idea to cover your soil with mulch, especially if you aren’t using a cover crop to protect your garden. This protects your soil from being washed away with the snow, adds nutrients to your soil, conserves moisture, and deters weeds from sprouting.

You’ll want to add a thick layer to give your garden the ultimate defence against freezing temperatures that can affect your plants’ roots.

3. Cut back perennials

The fall is a great time to cut back perennials in order to prepare your garden for winter. Most of your herbs, perennials, and vegetables benefit from it because it helps direct their energy to their roots for optimal spring growth.

Generally, most of your herbs and vegetables will be pulled as annuals. Rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus, etc. can be left to clean up in the spring. Just cut back untidy perennials as needed, and consider leaving behind those that may provide winter interest.

If you aren’t sure about what to do about certain plants in your yard, visit our garden centre, and our experts can help you with your pruning plans.

4. Clean up garden beds

Cleaning up your garden beds isn’t about aesthetic appeal. You’re saving yourself a lot of work in the spring by tidying up your garden. It also helps your plants prepare for the winter and decreases your likelihood of a pest problem. Many critters are looking for shelter in winter’s cold snap, and dead plants are the perfect place to hide.

If you forget to tidy, there’s also a chance disease can spread if it overwinters on your foliage. It’s best to give your garden a fresh start while it lies dormant for the cool season ahead.

5. Weeding

Just because winter is coming doesn’t mean you can leave the weeds to die. Your future self will thank you when spring arrives, and you aren’t overwhelmed with a massive takeover in the garden.

The fall is a great time to pull weeds from the roots, which will be much easier since they’ve slightly decomposed from the summer bloom.

6. Plant crops for the winter.

You can plant plenty of crops now that will last throughout the winter. Whether you’re growing vegetables that can survive our frosty weather or plants that will add a new look to your landscape, you have some great options.

Broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, and swiss chard are just a few of the veggies you can take on this winter. For a beautiful landscape, winterberry and snowberry, the Siberian cypress, and some perennials that will rest until the spring thaw are fabulous additions.

7. Dig up bulbs

When tidying your garden, it’s a good idea to dig up bulbs that aren’t weathered for the winter. For example, your dahlias and lilies likely won’t survive the dipping temperatures that the season has in store. You’ll want to dig them up and store them indoors. If you aren’t sure how to care for your bulbs while transitioning from warm summer nights to cool winter evenings, visit one of our garden centre locations to ask an expert.

8. Remove fallen fruit

Fallen fruit is a big culprit for disease among your plants once it begins to rot. It also attracts pests to the area for an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet. When you’re preparing your garden for winter, it’s crucial that you pick up any fallen fruit, including berries. Think of it like garden hygiene – it’s just something you have to do to keep it clean and maintained.

9. End-of-season lawn care

You’re almost ready to switch out the lawnmower for the snowblower. To get your grass ready for a lush and green spring, you’ll want to ensure you mow it late into the fall. We recommend maintaining a 2” height. As long as your grass keeps growing, you should be cutting it, right until the snow falls. If it’s left too long, you’ll have brown spots develop after the snow covers it.

You’ll also want to give your lawn a good rake and clean it before the fresh snow starts so it can breathe and grow more easily next year. It’s also a good idea to aerate the lawn in the fall for this purpose too.

10. Tool storage

You’re not going to break out the garden shovel with a blanket of snow in mid-December. Once you’re finished preparing your garden for winter, you can prepare your tools and store them safely. It’s important to wash them to remove dirt and debris while inspecting for any rust spots. If you find one, you can remove it with sandpaper or a wire brush. By taking the time to sharpen your tools and rub the surfaces in oil, it’ll extend their lifespan for another year of gardening.

The best chance you can give your garden for a spectacular spring starts this fall. Preparing it for the winter season gives you the best advantage for a fresh start. If you need some excellent ground cover options or have some questions about your garden clean-up routine, visit one of our garden centre locations in Calgary, Red Deer, or Edmonton.

When do you begin to prepare your garden for winter? Are there any extra tips you can share with our fellow gardeners? Leave your comments for the community below.