University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Late Fall Reminders

November 26, 1998

With November just about gone, winter could strike anytime. Topics over the past few weeks have discussed preparing the yard and garden. Today’s column includes a few reminders on late season chores that should be addressed.

Keep at those leaves that are still lying (or blowing) around the lawn. This will help reduce potential lawn problems over the winter. Last week's column discussed snow mold and vole damage; both common lawn winter problems.

Now is the time usually suggested for putting down winter mulches over perennials and strawberries. Since the weather has been relatively mild, waiting until the ground starts to freeze would be a better choice. The main purpose of winter mulches is to avoid freezing and thawing cycles over the winter when snow cover is absent.

Garden chemicals should be stored properly for the winter. Check pesticide and fertilizer product labels to see if freezing needs to be avoided. Seal up any open packages of fertilizer with tape, as moisture can be a problem in storage. Also, putting a quality clear tape over product labels can help assure readability next season, as sometimes labels fade. Keep containers out of direct sunlight.

Hoses and sprayers should be drained before cold weather sets in. Check owner's manuals for proper winterizing of mowers and other power equipment.

Don’t forget about hand tools. Clean and lightly oil metal parts. Take inventory of those that need repair or replacement. What tools don’t you have? Make a list and make it available to those looking for holiday gift ideas!

Scout around the yard and garden before snow covers everything. Are shrubs and young trees protected from rabbits? Are there still twigs to be picked up from past winds? Any equipment still not put away? Are the birdfeeders secure and ready for heavy winter use? If nothing else, enjoy the relatively mild late fall days, as they are definitely numbered!


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