Ah cooler weather, the colors changing on the trees and a gentle frost on the lawn… these days let us know that we need to start preparing for the end of the season.  There are so many things to do, but when do they get done so we can enjoy our yard as long as possible?

Your Lawn:   Winterize your lawn in September, this is when temps are cooler and the lawn is taking in nutrients to ‘hibernate’ over the long months.  Winterizing will help you boost your lawns health and vigor giving your lawn what it needs to keep the weeds at bay come next spring.  As a bonus you will also see your lawn stay greener as the snow comes and goes over the winter.   Don’t worry about putting the lawnmower for a little while yet, and here in MN the mower and snow blower over lap!  you can stop mowing typically in November as the cold prevents the grass from growing,  butbe careful  those warm indian summer days!  Your last mowing should leave your lawn 2.5″-3″ over the winter.

Mulching:  Mulch your perennials and landscapes if you already haven’t done so during the year.  By keeping a good layer of mulch you help insulate those tender root systems from the cold temps to come.  For general landscaping 6″ of mulch is plenty, but if you have plants that are not for our zone 4 that you hope to keep you may want to add additional mulch until the spring thaw.  As for the roses, if they are hardy shrub roses cones are not necessary.  If you choose to use cones, please don’t keep them on any sunny day over 40F …they do require so much more attention – especially in the spring- to prevent early leaf out and mildews from causing harm.  Adding extra mulch and cones shouldn’t be done until things have gone completely dormant in November and temps are under 40.

Water features:  Will you choose to stop running your water feature?  If you are looking to hear the gentle gurgle of water through the year you can leave it up and running, but be prepared to check on it often as the cold dry weather increases evaporation and you will need to fill it more often.  If you decide that you want to take it easy be sure to pull your pump be fore the pond/falls freeze, typically mid November.  After you pull your pump out of the pond, please keep it in a bucket of water in your basement or garage ( if it is attached to the house and/or insulated against freezing).  Also remove as many leaves as you can from sitting in the pond over the winter to make spring clean out easier.  So you could have more time with your pond depending on your level of care you choose!

See another post on the details of pruning and trimming!