One of the many great things about living in the NC/SC area is the mild winters and with temperatures in the high 60’s, this week is no exception. So use the mildness to your advantage and stay ahead of the landscaping “game”!
This is a good time to do thorough maintenance and prolong the life of your tools, mower, hoses and outdoor pipes.
- Clean tools with a wire brush and sharpen them using a sawing motion in a bucket of sand mixed with oil.
- Disconnect nozzles from hoses, and hoses from their spigots, then stretch them out to drain all water before storing them, preferably under cover, for the winter.
- Tune up your lawn mower: Run the engine dry, drain and replace the oil, and replace the air filter; if blades need sharpening or other repairs are needed, take your mower to the shop during this slow season.
- Straighten up your utility area or garden shed for a fresh start in the spring; store pesticides and other hazardous materials in a locked cupboard out of reach of children.
- Put pipe wrap or other protection around your outdoor spigots to prevent freezing.
Trees and shrubs
Remember the old rule, if you can dig, you can plant. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, planting trees and shrubs now will help preserve energy throughout the winter.
- When planting trees or shrubs, add a healthy dose of compost to your planting hole, if you have some, and mix processed manure and peat moss with your existing soil.
- Stake larger shrubs and trees to protect them from winter winds.
- If you haven’t done so yet, protect tender trees from winter scalding and freezing by covering their trunks in paper tree wrap, starting at the base and spiraling upward.
- Prune older trees that have stone fruits, but hold off on pruning other fruit trees and shrubs until January; roses won’t be ready for pruning for another month or two.
- Take cuttings from established new tip growth of azaleas, rhododendrons, heathers and other evergreens; keep indoors at a constant 70 degrees F, with plenty of light.