If you think you are done with your lawn and garden for the year, I have one question: Have you taken care of the following? If not, it is in your best interest to do so (even though it’s freezing out right now! It’s supposed to warm up again).
1) Wrap cedars with two layers of burlap
Cedars nearest a road (and on the east side of it, especially where they are susceptible to westerly winds full of salt spray) are most vulnerable. Wrap them with a layer of burlap to prevent the permanent damage of salt and wrap them again to protect them from the drying effects of the wind, especially if they are exposed to the north or west.
2) Fertilize your lawn
This time of year provides an opportunity to apply the most important application of lawn food. Why? Your lawn will absorb the nutrients of a fall lawn food before it goes to sleep for the winter.
Your lawn stores nutrients and sugars in its roots right now in anticipation of the long cold winter ahead. Look for a fertilizer formula, like 12-0-18, with high potassium (third number) and slow release nitrogen (first number).
3) Protect fruit trees
If we get an average dump of snow this winter, bunnies and mice can do a lot of damage to fruit trees that are less than six years old by nibbling away the bark. Wrap the trunk of each tree with a plastic spiral that extends about a metre up the trunk. After about six years or so, the trunk of most trees has become too tough even for rodents to enjoy.
All of your leaves are down and you no doubt have raked them off your lawn and onto your garden. Good. If you have a compost pile or bin, now is an excellent time to empty the contents onto your garden. Spread it with a rake and let it sit there over the winter. Come early spring, earthworms will pull the raw compost under the surface of the soil and convert it into nitrogen-rich castings.
Done? Now relax. You have effectively battened down the gardening hatches for another season.
Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, Member of the Order of Canada, author and broadcaster. Get his free monthly newsletter at markcullen.com. Look for his new best seller, The New Canadian Garden’ published by Dundurn Press. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCullen4 and Facebook.