Is your yard winter-ready? Do these 8 things NOW to prepare

Winter is coming! Are you and your yard ready?

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With the PGA Tour fall calendar wrapping up this weekend, the circuit will be moving on to warmer climes for the winter. Many of the rest of us are not so lucky. We’ll be bracing for the cold and snow. Our lawns will be readying for hibernation, too.

At golf courses, superintendents keep a lengthy checklist of winter-preparation tasks, many of which also apply to yard care. Terry Buchen, the former superintendent at Riviera and a 50-plus year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, remains active in the industry as a consultant. We asked him for a rundown of the jobs that homeowners should absolutely, positively handle before the frigid weather hits.

1. Blow out irrigation system

Get all the water out so the pipes and sprinkler heads don’t bust. If you’re handy, this can be a DIY job. Otherwise, it’s easy to outsource.

2. Clean up leaves

Rake ‘em. Mulch ‘em. Bag ‘em. It doesn’t really matter how. Just get them off your yard so the turf doesn’t yellow underneath them. Wet leaves also get slippery, so this serves as a safety measure, too.

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3. Trim bushes, perennial flowers and other ground cover

Proper nips and tucks now will encourage healthy growth and flowering come spring.

4. Apply fall fertilizer

High in potassium, this application will help take the turf into winter in a stronger state.

5. Raise the mowing height

Do this before the grass goes dormant. Longer grass will hold up better in the rugged months ahead.

6. Drain oil and gas from mowers, edgers, leaf blowers, etc.

So as not to gum up the carburetors and other inner-workings.

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7. Clean birdhouses

Call it the golden rule of yard care. You wouldn’t want to come back to a dirty home in spring. Do unto birds as you would have them do to you.

8. Store accessories

Ball washers. Bunker rakes. Tee markers. And on. Superintendents bring them all in for the winter. Often, they paint and refurbish these accessories, too. We know you probably don’t have a ball washer in your yard. But if you’ve got a garden gnome, it might be time to stash it in the shed.

Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.