Follow these tips to give lawns, plants, trees and shrubs a better chance of rebounding in the spring. Your landscape will maintain its health, and you’ll likely use less water in April and May.
- Fertilize Your Lawn. Fertilize in October before you turn your sprinklers off. This helps your lawn be more resilient over the winter, and it will green up in spring without the excess growth from early spring fertilization. Do not fertilize trees, shrubs or perennial flowers in fall. In late summer, they prepare to go into dormancy, moving their resources from the leaves into the trunk and root system. If you fertilize them in late summer, they’ll start to grow again, which can reduce their ability to make it through the winter.
- Top Off Your Mulch. If you have areas of your yard with wood mulch, make sure the layer is 3 to 4 inches thick. This will ensure plants are fully insulated to make it through winter. In addition, the soil will retain more moisture, which increases plants’ chances of staying hydrated until spring.
- Refresh your wood mulch areas. Once your landscape plants are cut back, it’s much easier to add new mulch to plant beds. Add enough new wood mulch, chips, or bark so the whole layer is 3 to 4 inches thick. This will keep the weeds down and preserve soil moisture throughout the growing season. Brush mulch off cut back plants and don’t pile it against their crowns.
- Establish New Landscape. If you’re consistent about winter watering, it’s ok to plant in fall. If you’re able to water once to twice per month through the winter, fall can be a great time to tuck a few more plants into your landscape.
- Gain Control of Weeds Prevent them from producing a bunch of troublesome new seeds by tackling them now.
- Tend to Sprinkler Systems. Drain your back flow prevention device or blow out your sprinkler system at the first sign of freezing weather. Fall is a good time to upgrade your sprinkler system with rebated products. Change your nozzles to a multi-stream rotary option, install sprinkler bodies with check valves or add a rain sensor to your system. Rebate information is at csu.org.
- Fall and Winter Watering. If you turn off your sprinkler system and we get a stretch of warm weather in October, hand water or use a hose sprinkler. Dehydrated plants are more susceptible to winter kill. From November through April, water trees and lawn areas, especially those that are sunny, sloped or exposed to high winds, once to twice per month to help them stay hydrated through the winter. Winter watering will affect your wastewater bill that is calculated by your water use from December 1st through the last day of February. Learn more about how your wastewater bill is calculated.