As much as we love to prolong summer as much as we can, it comes a time to start preparing our landscaped property for winter. There are many different ways of doing this. A lot of the discrepancies we here about stem from the fact that we have such varied climates. The weather patterns from the East to the West vary greatly. Many of the tips and maintenance ideas are written by authors that reside in Ontario or British Columbia. These techniques may not be as relevant for us in Nova Scotia.
One sure way to make sure you are getting local advice is to visit local retailers. Lawn and Garden supplies centers that stay open till late in the season usually have staff that are trained and knowledgeable in the local market. They can advise you on what works locally.
In the meantime, here are a few ideas that apply no matter where you live.
Store equipment and seed properly
Most fertilizers and seeds can be stored in a garden shed for use the following season. Keep grass seed cool and dry, and securely seal open fertilizer bags. All products should be kept away from direct heat or flame, children and pets.
Don't fertilize dormant grass
It's best to fertilize in the more temperate months of March and October, when the grass is primed to absorb nutrients.
Don't use sodium-based products on your lawn
Sodium-based ice and snow removers are toxic to plants. A safe alternative is calcium chloride or sand.
Don't walk on snow-covered or frozen grass
Foot traffic damages frozen grass, making it vulnerable to pests and diseases. To avoid damage, take a photo of your garden before the first snowfall to help you memorize the location of all of your hibernating greens, then avoid treading on those areas. If you can't avoid walking across the lawn, lay paver stones or a soft path of mulch or pea gravel to direct foot traffic.
Don't mow after the first frost
A fresh-cut grass blade is more susceptible to disease in cold weather. However, cool-season grasses should be mowed regularly to retain moisture.