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Tips for prepping your property for the winter

Posted at 11:59 AM, Sep 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-27 14:00:18-04

HELENA — While it might not seem it yet, frigid temperatures and snow will soon be here. MTN spoke with Gardenwerks to find out how you can help protect your property from the cold.

“Things start slowing down this time of year with the reduced sunlight. The leaves start changing. The plants want to get, they want to get ready for winter. They don’t want to continue growing year-round, so they want to take a, you know, a little rest for the winter. So, you want to encourage that resting period, you know, make sure they have everything they need to rest,” says President & owner of Gardenwerks, Mike Hiel.

Getting your yard, gardens, sprinkler systems, and even water features prepared can not only benefit you and your pocketbook but also the plants that inhabit your yard.

Hiel says that as we approach fall and winter you want to help the plants slow down their growth process. This means not doing any major pruning on trees or most plants as this typically encourages growth. Additionally, you want to cut back on water and not use fertilizer on your trees or most plants this time of year.

You can begin to use less water on your lawn, as well, says Hiel. And you want to make sure to clear your sprinkler system of water before the first big freeze hits. You also want to make sure to disconnect your hose from the faucet.

Gardenwerks also has a water feature with some fish on their property. During the winter they put a small heater and aerator in the water in order to help keep the koi alive.

As for vegetable gardens, most produce should be harvested now such as squash and beans. You can wait to pick your pumpkins for now, giving them time to mature.

Hiel says that Gardenwerks leaves up their ornamental gardens with such plants as flowers, perennials, and grasses.

“We like to leave them up for the winter, so you have something to look at during the winter and do some more severe pruning in the spring,” says Hiel.

Hiel says you want to take these steps before it begins to freeze.

“Whenever that happens, which could happen any day now. Last fall was a good indication. We had a really severe couple cold days and it got nice again. So that, it fools plant and fools people because they think it’s going to be nice again, but it can turn in an instant,” says Hiel.