It’s official; summer in Calgary is coming to an end. Slowly the leaves on the trees are changing colors and the back to school sales have begun. Where did the time go! Hopefully fall is a smooth transition to the cold, snowy weather that is to come. However, as experienced Calgarians all know sometimes these two seasons blend together to make for a dreary few months before the actual snow comes along. As a result it is important to start thinking about winterizing your yard and getting it ready for the cold!
Rake away the leaves
It is important to give your lawn a good grooming and collect all the leaves and debris from the summer. These things can become good compost for your lawn, but too many leaves can suffocate the grass below when the snow comes.
Give your lawn a cut
Mow your lawn one last time so that it has room to grow during the year. You will then be able to tell if it needs to be aerated and which parts need to be seeded. Also, you will catch any leaves that have fallen since you raked. They will then be ground up and will act as compost for your grass over the winter.
This is not a must, but can certainly be a huge help to keeping a healthy lawn next year. Aerating provides air for the roots of the grass and will make it stronger to last the winter. Make sure to water your lawn after you aerate to allow the grass to suck up as much moisture as it can before the frost comes.
In order to have a healthy lawn and not have it die off during the winter, it is important to apply a fall fertilizer. When buying fertilizer make sure it contains potassium (K), as it works on a cellular level to strengthen the grass from top to bottom, making the plant more tolerable to the cold. If needed add dry compost to areas of your lawn that are sparse and work it in with your rake for additional nutrients.
Overseed your lawn
Spread the seeding over composted areas to fill in areas of your lawn for the spring. The seeds will be embedded over the winter and have time to grow roots just in time for summer to begin next year.
Pull all of the annuals out of your garden, as they will die off once the frost sets in and trim up your perennials. Now is also the time to start planting your bulbs, as it is important to plant them before the cold weather comes.
Mulch your garden
Use the leaves that you collected from your lawn, as mulch to lay around your flowerbeds. These leaves will provide a good source of nutrients and organic matter to prepare the soil for next year’s plants and give your perennials and bulbs the nutrition they need to make it through winter.
Winterize outdoor water systems
It is important to go through the simple steps to make sure your water systems are winterized so that the lines do not freeze and crack over the cold winter months. Be sure to blow out your sprinkler system. You can hire a professional to do this, but it is important to book now for mid-September to beginning of October to beat the snow! Also be sure to drain and disconnect outdoor hoses and if possible, turn off the outdoor water.
Trim trim trim!
This is a good time of year to trip up the trees and bushes that are in your yard to prep them for the cold. It will also prevent against snow damage on the branches. Last year, as you all probably remember, Mother Nature decided to have “snowtember,” which devastated many Calgarian’s beautiful trees early in the fall season. Trimming them up will prevent this and make them look full and luscious next year.
We know it is sad, but it has got to be done! Dismantle your outdoor living room and put all patio accessories into storage. This includes lawn chairs, tables, potted plants, decorations, lights etc. that are not winterized. Even if they are winterized, putting them into storage will increase the longevity of your set, as the cold weather will age these things quick. Also make sure your fire pit is cleaned out and if portable, brought inside until the weather warms up again.
This can all be lots of work and some of the things mentioned above are best left to a professional. Be sure to check out Calgary landscaping professionals on Who to Call and book your appointments sooner than later before they are all booked up, or the snow comes and it is too late!