Winter is almost here, and with that, our minds need to shift to thinking about prepping our lawns and gardens for a new season. It may seem like the winter season is a time in which you won’t be able to do much, but there is actually quite a lot you can do in order to lay your garden to rest and prepare it for spring in the months ahead. Remember, just because there is very little happening on the outside does not mean that nothing is happening down below the soil or inside your plants.
Our team at South Austin Irrigation has compiled a list of tips and tasks for your winter preparation and maintenance to ensure that the health and beauty of your lawns and gardens are maintained. Winter irrigation and lawn care is just as important as during the Spring.
First Things First: Clean Up Your Lawn
After the harvest season ends, there will be a lot of clean-up waiting for you. Some of the plants in your garden can easily be left to run fallow while nature runs its course, but it is vital that you ensure that no hazards are lurking in your garden before you shut the garden door for the season.
Leaving plants to rot and returning nutrients to the soil can be extremely beneficial for your garden, but you first need to remove any plants that may be harboring illness or disease. If you noticed the signs during the growing season but couldn’t take action then, now is definitely the time. Pests and funguses may also be lurking, so make sure you remove these hazards before you allow the spent crops to provide protection for your overwintering pollinators and guard against soil erosion.
General Lawn Maintenance Tasks to Tackle
These are some great garden and lawn care tasks for your winter season:
- Remove invasive weeds – Make sure you clear out anything that may have taken hold during the warmer months.
- Amend and adjust your soil for spring – Looking after your soil early on and allowing time for the nutrients to take is a great way to prepare.
- Plant cover crops – Prevent soil erosion, feed the soil, and protect your lawn and garden.
- Carefully prune your perennials – First, check which plants respond well and then take care of those that benefit from winter attention.
- Divide and plant your bulbs – Lift and separate them carefully to safeguard your bulbs.
- Harvest and invest in the regeneration of your compost – Use what has been prepared to nourish your lawn and garden during winter and prepare for the next season.
- Replenish and refresh your mulch – Use this to support your garden during frosty and cold months.
- Do an assessment of your growing season and decide what worked and what didn’t – and keep notes so you can review and decide what to adjust.
- Clean and sharpen your tools – Make sure you are ready to go when the busy planting season starts.
- Check irrigation for any leaks or faulty heads – Ensure that good irrigation maintenance is being completed to avoid any issues down the line. Insulate any vulnerable areas before any period of freezing temperatures like your backflow prevention assembly. Adjust your controller to a cold weather setting.
- Maintain fencing and shaded areas – Patch any holes and check the tasks that you are usually too busy for in warmer months.
Think Ahead for Spring: Caring for your Lawn and Irrigation System
Once you have assessed your garden and lawn for progress in the past growing season, you will be able to make decisions about next year’s growing season. The first thing to assess is the health of your lawn. Think about what lawn care you will need to institute in winter to sustain it during the cold season. Keeping in mind that dormant lawns still need watering.
Next, focus on the plants that have struggled and decide what you will do differently. Feeding your soil and planning for new positions is a great start! Remember, now is not the time to move anything. Simply clear out and prepare for the planting season come spring. Soil fertility, plant placement, and even moisture levels are good things to assess during this period.
It can be recommended to water your grass once or twice a month during colder temperatures. When the ground starts to freeze the water will not be absorbed into the soil, and so with any freeze you can hold back on watering.
Steps to Take With Your Irrigation System During Winter
- Protect your pipes – Because of our milder winter temperatures we don’t need to drain our underground pipes or have them blown out with compressed air. As long as the pipes are buried 8-12 inches deep (below the area’s frost line), the soil should insulate them.
- Valves – Valves buried directly in the ground, or covered by a valve box, are insulated from the cold. Make sure any broken, missing, or open box lids are repaired or replaced.
- Above ground backflow prevention assemblies – Dormant lawns still need some irrigation during the winter, and those overseeded with rye grass require regular watering. To continue irrigating over the winter, protect your above-ground backflow prevention assembly (BPA) by wrapping and insulating it.
- Controllers – for cold weather irrigation use the “seasonal adjust” feature on your controller. It will change the zone run times to a percentage of the programmed schedule that’s based on the hottest time of the year.
- Sensors – add sensors to scheduling controllers to make them “smarter” and upgrade the system. This reduces water waste, and helps make winter irrigation more efficient. Some of these add-ons include: rain sensors, freeze sensors, soil moisture sensors, and wind sensors.
Lawn Care That Will Set Your Home Apart This Winter!
We know that even in winter, life can get busy. While many of these tasks are quite simple to do, they do require some time and effort. That is why our team at South Austin Irrigation is here to help. Not only would we be happy to offer you guidance and support for your winter irrigation and sprinklers, but we offer many services to help maintain a beautiful outdoor space ‒ no matter what the season! Protecting your system for the cold weather can help prevent unneeded repairs in the future. When a hard freeze is forecast, you need to take extra steps to protect your irrigation system.
If you have any queries about our irrigation or sprinkler services, simply get in touch with us by calling (512) 534 7449 or using our online portal for your convenience.