The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a colder and more snowy winter for much of the United States this year. Frost King is here to help you get your yard ready to weather the storms ahead.
Care for the Lawn. Mow the grass short and apply a final application of potassium- and nitrogen- rich fertilizer to protect your lawn from cold and disease all winter long. Before putting the lawn mower away until spring, brush away any lawn clippings or dirt, then fill the gas tank with stabilized fuel and run the engine five to 10 minutes to work fuel through the system to protect the engine. If you have an electric mower, remove the battery and store it inside for the winter. As an added step, Consumer Reports recommends putting a container of mothballs near the mower’s deck to prevent mice and other rodents from nesting in the dormant machine.
Clean Up the Garden. It’s time to put your garden to sleep. Pull up dead or dying annuals and plant spring bulbs so you’ll have a burst of color to look forward to after winter. Cut back overgrown or straggly branches on perennials, but do so with care. Some flowering plants, such as hydrangeas and viburnum, bloom on old growth or have already set buds for next year so if you prune too aggressively you may miss out on a show of flowers in the spring. Add a layer of mulch around plantings to protect them from cold temperatures. If you have tender summer bulbs, such as calla lily, cannas, or dahlias, dig up the tubers and let them dry out before tucking them into a box filled with shredded newspaper; store in a cool, dark basement for the winter. Empty plant pots; large frostproof containers should be turned upside down so that frozen water doesn’t collect inside and freeze over the winter. Terra cotta, ceramic, and containers made of other materials that crack easily in cold temperatures should be emptied and stored in a garage or shed.
Pack up the Grill. If you don’t plan to use your grill over the winter, it’s time to winterize it. Fire up the grill, close the lid and let it heat up for 15-20 minutes to burn off any chunks of food or debris, then use a grill brush to scrape away any tough spots that remain. If you use a charcoal grill, clean out all the ash and wash out the interior with warm soapy water. It’s best to store your grill in a garage, shed or basement over the winter. Grills that are stored outside should be covered to protect them from the elements.
Store Outdoor Furniture. Extend the life of your patio table and seating by cleaning and storing it properly. If you have wood furniture, wipe down surfaces with mild soap and warm water, and soak up excess water with a microfiber cloth. Allow the wood to dry thoroughly before storing in a covered area. To care for metal furniture, spray with a hose to remove dirt and debris, then wipe all surfaces with warm, soapy water and dry with a microfiber cloth. Scrub cushions, pillows and umbrellas and let them dry completely before packing them away.
Get Your Garage in Gear. Move summer toys and tools to the back of the garage, and store shovels, sleds, salt and other winter items near the front, where they’re easier to get to. If you have a snowblower, test it out to make sure it’s running properly. Check the garage floor and foundation for cracks in concrete that could let in water or pests. If you see any cracks, seal them with Frost King Backer Board and caulk. If your garage has outlets on exterior walls, insulate them with Frost King’s Socket Sealers to cut down on air leaks. It’s an easy job that can cut air infiltration by as much as 5 percent. Watch this video for installation tips.
Check the Garage Door. Examine the garage door carefully for gaps or cracks that might leak cold air and water and can provide an entry point for rodents and other pests. Pay particularly close attention to the weather seal that runs around the door. Water, heat and dirt can damage the weather seal over time. Frost King offers several different options to seal gaps around the sides and tops of garage doors, as well as bottom seal kits for wooden and metal doors. Watch this video for step-by-step directions on how to install a bottom seal.