There are five main chores for getting the yard winterized: raking leaves, applying fertilizer, clearing gutters, insulate your plants, and draining your pump, sprinklers, and hoses.
1. Rake Leaves
Finish getting the leaves raked up, if they ever finish dropping, before the first snow hits which eliminates lawn damage caused by molding leaves. Rake up
the leaves for making your own compost, or bag the leaves up in the blue compostable bags provided by the Town of Paonia since they are no longer vacuuming up the leaves left at curbside.
The FREE blue bags, available at the Town Hall, are on a first come first serve basis. Fill your bags with your leaves and place them at the curb and you will be surprised how quickly they are snatched up by those who are seeking low cost compost material. Just be sure that only leaves (no twigs, or branches) are loaded into the bags. All types of rakes are available in the store. Come in now for the best selection.
2. Apply Winterizing Fertilizer
Fall feeding is the most critical feeding time for your lawn and trees. Fertilome’s Winterizer is a great product to build up resistance to winter’s harshness by increasing stem strength and disease resistance.
Lower nitrogen (10%) and higher potassium (14%) plus small amounts of trace minerals such as Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc, help build up vigorous root growth during the winter resulting in healthier, greener lawns in Spring.
- The product should be applied at the rate of 20 pounds per 5000 square feet for lawns
- Use 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line* for trees.
- Use 1 Cup per 3 foot of height for shrubs Don’t apply the Winterizer too close to the tree trunk, and then WATER thoroughly following the application.
*A drip line is the outer edge to which a plant’s branches spread. This is where rain water tends to naturally drip from the plant and where the root system is concentrated.
Organic Winterizing Products include Earthworm castings which promote root growth and plant nutrition and Soil Activator contains humates. All products are in stock at the store.
3. Clear Gutters and Drains
Removing debris from gutters and outdoor drains unclogs the gutter and prevents water damage to your house and roof. Neglected gutters risks water backing up and seeping into your roof, or spilling down the side of the house causing possible foundation damage.
This step must not be done so early that the gutters re-clog, or the gutters can become frozen with debris inside. Aim, to complete this step when the leaves are down and before the first snow. With our Colorado Indian Summers this step probably needs to be completed in November sometime before Thanksgiving.
4. Insulate Plants
Protecting plants with a “jacket” for the inevitable extremely cold freezing temperatures helps eliminate winter-kill and promote plant health. Cover plants roots with at least a one inch layer of mulch (Soil Pep is a good choice).
Also, plants can be safeguarded with The Planket, which is a plant blanket designed to prevents winter damage from both snow and deer and available at Paonia Farm and Home. Other materials you can use to protect cold sensitive plants would be include burlap,, a sheet or a cardboard box.. When the sun and warm temperatures return, these “covers” need to be removed to avoid “baked plant”.
5. Drain Pumps, Lawn Sprinklers and Hoses
Hopefully this job is done already, because Lawn sprinkler systems and pumps represent a substantial capital investment and must be drained, and blown out before the deep freeze of winter sets in or you will most probably incur broken, pipes, sprinkler heads and and other damage that will need to be repaired next Spring.
As always, visit or call the store for more information for answers about products, services to all your gardening questions. You can also contact the store for a list of people willing to perform the various tasks discussed in this article.