Garden Hack of the Month: Winter Garden Tasks

December 9, 2019

Although things in the garden tend to slow down in the winter, there are a couple of tasks you can keep up on throughout the winter months to prepare for a beautiful spring soon to come.

December – January


  • Stay off your lawn as much as possible when frozen or extremely wet
  • Rake leaves and debris from lawn

Garden Beds

  • Water plants not exposed to rains (under eves or in containers)
  • Still ok to plant if ground is not frozen or too saturated


  • Start planning and dreaming of next year’s garden!
  • Test soil to determine nutrient needs in preparation for spring
  • Clean & sharpen garden tools and lawn mower blades
  • Clean storm debris and leaves from patio and walkways to prevent staining or moss and weed growth

February – March       


  • Best time to prune most plants before they start to grow in spring (wait until deep freezes have passed):
    • Focus on pruning out dead, damaged or diseased stems
    • Thin out dense shrubs to increase light and air flow and prevent disease
    • Make thinning cuts to reduce size if needed
  • Clean up perennials, ferns & grasses before new growth starts:
    • Cut back tattered evergreen plants like ferns, grasses and the foliage of hellebores and epimedium to the ground
    • Remove brown dead foliage on deciduous perennials and grasses


  • Continue to remove leaves and debris from lawn
  • Tune up lawn mower in preparation for spring
  • Start mowing at height of 2.5”-3.5” when growth begins


  • Dig out perennial weeds using a Hori Hori to get entire root (ex- dandelions and morning glory)
  • Remove annual weeds using a Hula Hoe to remove tops and prevent them from seeding (ex- shotweed)

Garden Beds

  • Good time to start planting as weather warms but rains continue
  • Apply a layer of mulch after weeding to keep weeds down and reduce watering in summer
    • Compost used as a mulch is great in perennial and annual beds and is a source of nutrients
    • Wood arborist chips are suitable for native buffer areas where you don’t work the soil and/or want to control weeds
  • Prepare beds for vegetable gardens by weeding and adding compost (peas can be planted soon)
    • Plant cool season vegetables (peas, greens…) when soil warm above 40 degrees
  • Start seeds indoors for other vegetable crops in March

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