Just because we’re not sunbathing or hosting parties in our backyard during the winter doesn’t mean we can forget about winter backyard maintenance.
Your backyard will still be here when the cold winter months have passed; make sure you aren’t setting yourself up to do an entire season’s worth of work come spring.
Here’s everything you need to do.
Winter Maintenance Starts Before Winter
This is one of the primary maintenance tips you must keep in mind; winter maintenance always starts way before winter arrives.
You’ll need to give your plants the nutrients they need in the colder months.
This essentially means fertilizing the soil in the fall. This will allow the glass to absorb the nitrogen before the soil starts freezing and then use it over the cold season.
Fertilization can be done through mulching, grasscycling, or many other techniques. Without enough nitrogen, your plants won’t be able to last through the winter season since they will run out of essential nutrients.
Another pre-winter task is aerating the backyard. When the soil is too compact, it hinders water absorption and pools on top.
This causes damage to plants and can kill them eventually. Regularly aerating the soil is a simple way to reduce compaction and ensure proper moisture absorption into the soil.
The reason you need to aerate before winter is that you absolutely can’t risk any water pooling on the surface during the winter season—that is as good as freezing your plants to death.
Clear Away the Leaves Regularly
Even when you’re not actively using your backyard during the winter, it’s important to keep it clean and clear of any debris, including fallen leaves, branches, and trash.
Not only will the leaves look untidy, but they’ll also risk your greenery’s health.
By cleaning up the backyard, you’re going to ensure your grass gets the light and air it needs in order to grow.
If the leaves are just piled up in a corner, they will completely block out the sunlight causing the grass to die in that area.
If you’re in an area where it snows, it’s important to cut your grass short just before the fall season ends and the first snowfall arrives. When the grass is shorter, there is a lower chance of snow mold buildup.
Also, there will be greater air rotation in the soil because the excessive barrier from plant tissue would be out of the way.
In case it doesn’t snow in your region, you’ll need to continue mowing the yard. Due to little sunlight, grass may grow slower in the winter months, but that doesn’t mean you should stop mowing it.
Mow less often, but don’t ignore it completely.
Keep Watering the Backyard
This is another mistake many homeowners make. Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to water at all.
Of course, you don’t have to water your backyard as often as you do in the summer season, but you still need to water on dry, no-snow days.
Not watering the plants during the winter may dehydrate them, so they won’t survive until spring arrives.
Try To Reduce Foot Traffic in Your Backyard During This Time
Considering all the backyard maintenance we’re suggesting, this might be particularly hard to accomplish, but it is critical.
When your grass is wet, walking on it can cause muddy patches, and you may get weeds as a result.
Similarly, when you’re walking on frosted grass, you’re going to damage it beyond repair.
Ideally, try and schedule all your backyard maintenance tasks for a dry day with no snow.
Make Sure to Avoid Any Unnecessary Salt Damage
If you’ve got walkways and pathways that you need to clear off the ice from, you’ll probably use de-icing salt on them.
While this will work for the walkways, it may accidentally damage your grass.
What happens is that your grass experiences a physiological drought, affecting its nutrient absorption and creating bald spots in your backyard.
So always be careful when you’re de-icing any part of the backyard.
Check All of Your Lawn Equipment and Do the Necessary Maintenance
Winter maintenance is very different from all the work you do in your backyard throughout the year.
This means that a lot of the equipment you use is either not in use or isn’t being used as frequently.
So, this is the perfect time to deep clean the equipment and ensure it’s in top-notch condition for the spring.
Also, you can use the time for inspections to see what needs to be repaired or replaced and make the necessary replacements before the warm weather arrives.
Take Extra Care of Your Koi Pond
If you have a koi pond in your backyard, it will require some extra winter maintenance. Here’s everything you should be doing:
- Make sure the water is aerated
- Ensure plenty of ventilation in the pond despite any ice on the surface (this can be done by creating holes)
- Make sure the water is stirred gently to maintain the natural balance
- If you need to break up the ice, do it very gently. Any shock waves will hurt your pond’s marine life.
- Consider adding a deicer if you think the pond might freeze completely
- Most importantly, don’t feed your koi during the winter season—it’ll die.
If you’d like to learn more about winter backyard maintenance or need help setting up your backyard for the spring season, explore BackYard Alpha.
You’ll find everything from excellent gardening tips online to the best koi ponds kits and pellet grills for backyard barbeques.
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