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

Warm Fall and Yard Care

November 11, 1999

With the unusual warmth of this fall, it seems hard to believe winter is actually very close. While the warm weather may call for a few modifications, yard and garden preparation is still basically the same at this point as any other year.

Probably the one noticeable change due to the warm days is some lawns may need an additional mowing, while in other years at this stage of November grass has completely stopped growing. If your lawn has put on some significant growth since the last mowing, it is to your advantage to mow it one last time. Lawns going into winter excessively high are more prone to snow mold disease and damage from voles.

Noticed any dust as you are raking leaves off the lawn? Many areas are quite dry, as it has been several weeks since significant rains came to northern Illinois. Dry soils and mild temperatures are reasons to water evergreens as needed until the ground freezes. This will help prevent winter desiccation injury.

If you have not already done so, think about protecting shrubs and small trees from rabbits and mice. Rake out leaves that have accumulated around the base of low growing evergreens to help reduce cover for mice that can gnaw away bark. Once the weather gets colder and snow falls, rabbits will look to tender shrubs for food. Put up poultry wire protection before the weather turns and the damage is done.

Many yard and garden chemicals should not freeze. Check products stored in the garage and move those that are damaged by freezing to the basement or other heated areas. Check containers to assure they are sound. Read the product label for precautions in storage. For example, do not store near the furnace or other heat source. Keep pesticides up off the floor and away from access by children or pets. A lockable storage area is best.

Fertilizers should be protected from moisture. If the package has already been opened, seal it tightly with tape to help reduce moisture interacting with the contents. If the bag is stored off the garage floor, it is less likely to get wet while in storage.

Finally, survey yard and garden tools, making note of repairs and replacements needed before next season. Follow the manual instructions for proper winter preparation and storage of power equipment. Taking care of these tasks now helps assure a smooth start when needed next season!


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