Winter Prep Tips for Your Lawn & Garden:
- Feed your lawn! A fertilizer high in phosphorus will help prepare your plants for next year.
- Soil testing is a good way to determine if you’re giving your lawn what it needs to thrive.
- Try using perennial ryegrass to repair a damaged lawn and reseed. Top dress with up to 1/4″ compost or soil to help seeds take root.
- Flower beds don’t need much work this time of year. Cut back perennials and other plants prone to dieback.
- Don’t put away the hose just yet! The ground should be moist, but not soggy. In general, a lawn should get 1″ of water every 14-21 days.
- Go easy on the pruning. Pruning promotes growth. You don’t want to encourage growth when plants are going to be dormant for the winter.
- Now is a great time to cut off dead wood so insects have no place to hide.
- Mulching is a great way to protect plants and keep them hydrated. Don’t pile the mulch around trees and bushes, as this encourages mice, moles, and chipmunks to make homes.
- It is not too late to plant some vegetables in the garden! Greens like lettuce and spinach can often be harvested in 30 days! If you have even more time before the winter freeze arrives, try broccoli, carrots or Swiss chard.
- Now is the time to transplant trees and shrubs! Transplanting now allows the plants longer time to take root, without the stress of Texas heat.
- You can plant a nitrogen rich cover crop, like clover, to prep your garden for winter. Also, just covering the garden with burlap will help keep the weeds down.
- Don’t forget about your pond! This is a great time to clean your pond, netting out any leaves. As they begin to decay, they cause a build up of nutrients and cause spikes in ammonia levels that are harmful to fish.
- If you have a small pond, you might consider using a cover from late fall through winter.
- Using a bacterial additive in the water will speed up the decomposition of leaf scum and fish waste.
- It’s also a good idea to drain your pond by 25%-50% for the winter.
- Put your fish on a diet! With the onset of cold weather, their metabolism slows. When the temps reach 60 degrees, switch to a lower-protein food that is easier to digest. Once temps reach 50-55 degrees, you can stop feeding the fish. There metabolism slows so much that they no longer need to eat.
- Shut down your pumps and filters, and bring them inside for the winter. The fish will settle near the bottom in a hibernation-like state.
- Loosen fittings on anything left outside. This will help prevent cracks.
Want even more detailed gardening information?? Check out Gardening by the Moon Calendar from the Farmers’ Almanac. The online edition can be viewed here.