OSU Winter Landscaping photo

One last lawn mowing gives the landscape a tidy look for the winter. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

STILLWATER – As the weather cools down, Casey Hentges, host of Oklahoma State University Agriculture’s award-winning television show Oklahoma Gardening, offers some helpful tips for homeowners who are preparing their lawns for winter.

“There are a few things that people should be doing with their lawns and landscapes now to keep them healthy, so they’ll look great next spring,” Hentges said.

Lower the lawnmower deck to about 2.5 inches for that final mowing of warm-season grasses, she suggests. This gives the lawn a tidy appearance over the winter, she noted.

Rake leaves off cool-season lawns to maintain a strong, healthy stand of turf.

Hentges suggests wrapping young tree trunks with immature bark to prevent southwest injury.

If establishing a new tree, Hentges recommends visiting the local nursery to see what is available now. In doing so, this will show what colors the tree will be in the fall. Planting new trees now also gives them time to establish a strong root system before a hard winter freeze, she said.

Fall flowers such as asters, mums, pansies, ornamental kale or snapdragons can add a splash of color to your landscape. In addition, Hentges says that now is a good time to prepare for spring color by planting spring bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips and daffodils.

Hentges recommends keeping an eye out for discounted perennials at the local garden center, as this is a good time to get those planted in the garden so “they’ll look their best next spring.”

Gardeners should harvest the last of their winter vegetables such as sweet potatoes, green tomatoes and winter squash before the first heavy frost.

Another idea is to clear out the remnants of the vegetable garden and plant a cover crop, which is beneficial to the soil, such as crimson clover, Austrian peas, tillage radishes or even winter wheat.

Put leaves and other garden debris that do not have disease into a compost bin. Compost is great for enriching the soil in flowerbeds next spring.

“We’re in the slower-paced season of gardening, but these tips will help ensure you’re off to a great start next spring,” Hentges said.

OSU Extension offers additional gardening and landscape information online.

OSU Winter Landscaping pic

Casey Hentges, host of Oklahoma State University Agriculture’s award-winning television show Oklahoma Gardening, offers some helpful tips for homeowners who are preparing their lawns for winter. Facebook photo

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