Even though it’s only the middle of September, Colorado Springs and the surrounding mountain towns may experience their first frost any day now. While this year has been atypically warm, Colorado Springs has seen rare snow falls during the first week of September. With that said, here are a few tips on how to keep your yard looking good during the winter months and give you a jump start on next spring.
Prior to the first frost, weeds will continue to grow deep into the fall. While they are actively growing, they continue to take-in nutrients in preparation for winter dormancy. This is the time to strike. Spray perennial weeds with herbicide prior to the first frost and these weeds will absorb the killing agent. If you wait until after the first frost, these weeds will have stopped taking-in nutrients and the herbicide won’t be absorbed, rendering it useless. Herbicide only works if it is actively absorbed by the weed – don’t miss your windowing by putting it off until after the first frost.
If you’ve kept up on your plants, annuals will continue looking great all summer long and maybe even into October. However, once that first frost hits, annuals tend to decline immediately. After the first cold snap, make it a point to pull up any annuals in your yard. This chore makes for great compost and will keep your yard looking tidy through the winter months. This will leave your flower beds clean and ready to plant bulbs before the ground freezes.
With a little bit of foresight, you can get a jump on next year’s planting season. Once removing your summer bulbs as directed above, select next spring’s colors and plant them before the ground freezes. Planting your spring bulbs in the fall will allow the bulbs to begin growing roots in the cold months, and shoot to the sky once the weather warms up next spring.
After a few cold nights, most perennials will be past their prime. Cut back their tops and stems down to the crown of leaves at the base. Rake your beds, compost any dead plant material, and smooth around any remaining plants for best winter display. If you’ve planted any liriope, hydrangeas, Russian sage, or ornamental grasses be sure to leave these perennials as they are. They won’t be the peak lush beauty of spring or summer, but they should carry a nice autumn color and consistent structure throughout the winter. These plants will continue to provide your yard some dynamics through the winter months. Once spring rolls around, go ahead and cut these perennials back right before new growth begins to develop.
While your sprinkling system may survive the first frost, it certainly won’t survive frozen ground unless properly maintained. Prevent costly repairs and burst pipes by draining, or forcing all of the water out of your sprinkler systems lines with compressed air. There is a bit of a technique to this that almost any general contractor or landscape maintenance company can do for you – but don’t overlook it. It’s one of the single most important projects to complete before the cold sets in.
There are few more fall chores to prepare your yard for next spring and keep it looking great all winter long. Depending on the trees in your neighborhood, you may need to rake leaves. While we tend to recommend aerating warm-season grass in the early spring, fall works just as well for many people – just make sure you’re doing it once per year. For more tips or help with the heavy lifting, give us a call. See why Alpine Contracting has been awarded Best of the Springs four years in a row!