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How to get your Sacandaga garden
ready for winter
on Great Sacandaga Lake


How to get your Sacandaga garden
ready for winter


It's late fall – time to forget about the garden, right? Not so fast – if you get your garden ready for winter properly, it will make a big difference next spring.

Instead of playing catch-up and fixing winter's damage, you'll be ready to enjoy your garden when the first spring bulbs come up.

Use this checklist to help with the late fall jobs around the yard and garden

Early fall garden jobs: In the yard

There's still plenty of bloom in the early fall garden

One important job in the early fall garden is to continue to water your plants, especially your evergreens and trees and shrubs if it isn't raining enough. Going into the winter well hydrated will help keep your plants thriving. More on winterizing trees and shrubs.

Lawn care: Aerate your lawn and reseed any dead or thin spots. This is the best time of the year to lay sod, overseed or start a lawn from seed because temperatures are cooler and rain tends to be more plentiful than in the hot summer months. More lawn care tips.

Create a new bed: Do
soil preparation for any new beds you want to have ready for spring planting.

Landscape projects: This is a good time to plan or do landscaping projects, such as walls, walkways, patios, and decks. See landscape design tips.

Getting the garden ready for winter:

Around the yard

Move woody plants: This is a good time of the year to transplant any shrubs or small trees that you have earmarked for relocation. Do this when the leaves of deciduous woody plants turn color and start to drop.

Plant trees or shrubs: In many regions, this is a good time to get woody plants into the ground. See tree planting instructions.

Protect young trees with guards: Put plastic or wire mesh (hardware cloth) tree guards around the slender trunks of any new trees and shrubs to protect them from gnawers such as rabbits and mice, and make sure the tree guards go high enough, over the snow line.

Continue to water trees, especially evergreens, until the ground freezes. Evergreens need a good store of moisture going into winter because they don't lose their leaves, which means they continue to transpire (give off water vapor) through the cold months. More information on winter care for your trees and shrubs.

Rake up fallen leaves from your lawn
each week instead of leaving the job until all the leaves have fallen. In fall, lawn grass still needs sunlight as it is creating sugars to store in its root system for good growth next spring. Leaving the leaves on top of the lawn can smother the grass and weaken it.

Use your yard's leaves: Consider shredding fall leaves and using them as winter mulchon flower beds. You can also add shredded leaves to the compost pile. In a season or so, they'll make the best treat your garden soil can have. You can use a chipper shredder, if you have one, or just run your lawn mower over the leaves.

Control lawn weeds: If you spray your lawn to control broadleaf weeds, the month of October is the most effective time for this job.

Apply lawn fertilizer. A lawn fertilizer application made in the late fall encourages increases winter hardiness and promotes quick greening in spring. For more information on this, see low maintenance lawn care.

Cut the lawn one final time: After you are finished, why not get your mower serviced and its blade sharpened now so it will be ready for spring?

Weeding: Do one last weeding and discard any weeds that have seeds on them in the garbage instead of the compost. You don't want those pesky seeds sprouting in your garden later.

Getting your flower garden ready for winter

Perennial garden cleanup: Whether you cut down dying perennial foliage when you're getting the garden ready for winter is up to you. Some gardeners like to leave seed heads and dried foliage for winter interest and to feed birds. Others prefer to leave neat beds ready for a show of spring-flowering bulbs. But whatever you cut down now, you don't have to clean up in the spring.

A good compromise is to remove leaves and stalks that frost turns to mush and any that are diseased, but keep some ornamental grasses and the perennials with seed heads that provide winter food to birds. When cutting plants down, prune perennials to 4 to 5 inches of the ground.

Annuals: Pull out any last frosted annuals and add spent plant material to your compost.

Weeding and edging: Do a final weeding and edging of flower beds.

Spring bulbs: This is still a good time to plant spring-flowering bulbs before the ground freezes hard.

Rose care: Don't cut roses back now – do it early spring. Hill up hybrid tea roses with soil for winter protection if necessary. More tips on protecting roses over the winter.

Winter mulch: Once the ground freezes, apply a layer of winter mulch to perennial beds – don't do this too early or you'll provide winter shelter for rodents.




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