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The Grounds Guys
rake in the snow

Winter Yard Maintenance Checklist

You may be busy skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, and enjoying other activities in the great outdoors this winter, but you shouldn’t neglect yard maintenance just because you’re out having fun. Help your property survive until spring with these useful winter yard maintenance checklists for snow and non-snow climates.

Winter Yard Maintenance for Snow Climates

If you live in Canada or the northern United States, follow this checklist:

  • Perform winter clean-up, including removing dead leaves and debris, if you didn’t get around to cleaning up your garden in the fall.
  • Keep up with snow removal and ice-melting efforts to keep your driveway and sidewalks safe. Avoid walking on snow-covered grass because heavy foot traffic compacts the soil, making it more difficult for your lawn to recover in the spring.
  • Install or refresh the mulch in your flower beds and refresh the borders when the ground isn't frozen (soil temp warmer than 32 degrees). Two to four inches of mulch, bark, straw, or leaves insulates the soil to reduce root damage from the freeze-thaw cycle.
  • Remove dead, diseased, or damaged plants. Wait until spring to replace them.
  • Move potted perennials indoors, if possible, or temporarily transplant them into the ground.
  • Cover delicate plants with burlap or frost barrier fabric to protect against freeze damage.
  • Prune dormant trees and shrubs. Remove dead or diseased branches first. Then, starting at the center and moving out, thin the canopy to increase air circulation and promote new, healthy growth in the spring.
  • Remove annuals from your garden once they die, roots and all.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses for a tidier winter yard.
  • Take down your outdoor holiday lights once the season is over.
  • Apply “dormant” horticultural oil. This product suffocates overwintering pests, including scale, aphids, and certain mites. It’s more environmentally friendly than traditional insecticide and has little effect on beneficial insects and wildlife.

Winter Yard Maintenance for Non-Snow Climates

If you live in a more temperate climate where snow is rare or nonexistent, follow this checklist:

  • Mow and edge the lawn once a month or as needed if the grass continues to grow during the winter where you live.
  • Overseed warm-season grass once overnight temperatures consistently drop below 65 degrees F (18 degrees C).
  • Remove debris and blowing leaves once a month or as needed.
  • Install or refresh the mulch in your flower beds and refresh the borders. In warm climates, this reduces evaporation, insulates the roots, suppresses weed growth, and limits erosion.
  • Remove and replace dead, diseased, or damaged plants to improve the health and overall look of your winter garden.
  • Prune trees and shrubs during the dormant season.
  • Apply winter weed control. Your options include pre-herbicides for stopping weeds before they sprout and post-herbicides to tackle weeds that have started to grow.
  • Apply horticultural oil. This product suffocates overwintering pests, including scale, aphids, and certain mites. It’s more environmentally friendly than traditional insecticide and has little effect on beneficial insects and wildlife.
  • Cut back rose bushes, shrubs, and other perennials to a few inches above the soil.
  • Remove dead blossoms from annual flowers, a process known as deadheading.
  • Fertilize your lawn and perennials once this season.
  • Inspect or upgrade the irrigation system for maximum effectiveness based on your yard’s watering needs.
  • Take down your outdoor holiday lights once the season is over.

Call The Grounds Guys® for Spring Clean-Up

Congratulations—you have all the information you need to implement a winter yard maintenance schedule! Still, spring will be here before you know it, so it’s wise to start planning ahead. If you’re not up for maintaining your yard this winter, or you want help jumpstarting it ahead of the growing season, schedule spring clean-up services with The Grounds Guys now, before we’re fully booked! Reach out to request a free job estimate today.

Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighborly company. Learn more about Neighborly’s community of home service experts at Neighborly.com.