Prepare Your Lakeshore for Winter
Winter comes so quick! When the weather turns toward the winter months, so many of us tend to overlook a few important chores that help our yards weather the winter and be able to emerge in spring in all its glory.
- Rake leaves off of lawn areas. Leaves left on the lawn over winter tend to mat together and can encourage lawn disease. Never rake leaves into the lake.
- Shred those leaves and put them in a compost pile. They make great garden mulch next year.
- Mow the grass on final time before the ground freezes, using a low mowing height.
- Trees and shrubs:
- If the soil is dry, give trees and scrubs a thorough watering before the ground freezes, giving special attention to any trees and shrubs planted this year.
- Watering evergreens such as arborvitaes in the fall can reduce the occurrence of winter burn.
- Flower gardens:
- Pull annual flowers and add to your compost pile.
- Remove and destroy any foliage or stems that show any disease.
- Perennials can be cut back to the ground or leave the stems until spring.
- Some perennials (purple coneflower or tall sedum) have interesting heads and can provide winter interest in the garden area.
- Leaving perennial stems up can help trap snow, which is good insulation.
- After the ground starts to freeze, apply a layer of winter mulch to perennials that were recently planted, have shallow root systems, or are marginally hardy.
- Vegetables and Fruits:
- Remove vegetable plants from the garden; add to compost pile or if they are diseased have them destroyed.
- Protect fruit trees from rabbits and moles by enclosing the lower trunk in a cylinder of hardware cloth.
- Strawberries benefit from eight to 12-inch layer of straw mulch applied before the ground freezes.
- Drain all hoses, turn off all outdoor faucets and blow all sprinkler lines.
- Clean, sharpen and oil all garden tools.
- Store fertilizers, pesticides and other garden chemicals in a frost-free location that is secure and child proof.
- Get out a good book, put a pot of chili on the stove and get prepared to watch the snow, wind and fisher-people out on Big Fish Lake.
(We are thankful to the University of Minnesota Extension Service for all their information. John H. Brunner is a resident on Big Fish Lake)