Spokane County Extension

Garden - Lawn - Landscape


Winterize lawn mowers by scraping off all dirt, rust and accumulated grass. Remove the sparkplug and drain out excess oil and gasoline. Replace the oil and store lawn mower in a dry place.

Clean, oil and mend all hand tools. Sand if necessary and repaint handles or identification marks that have faded over the summer. Sharpen all blades and remove any rust.

Drain, coil, tie and store hoses in a basement or cellar out of freezing temperatures. Scrub clay pots, birdbaths and other portable garden ornaments with a 10 percent bleach solution, dry and store inside.

Give extra water to evergreen shrubs and trees before the ground freezes to prevent winter burn. Use Wilt-pruf anti-dessicant spray to further protect from winter drying.

Adopt good orchard practices, even if you have only a few fruit trees in your yard. A good control program will include the destruction of harboring places for insects and diseases:

    • Remove and destroy all dropped fruit.
    • Rake and dispose of apple and cherry leaves.
    • Prune and destroy all dead or diseased limbs, branches, and twigs.



Prepare the vegetable garden for winter by tilling crop debris into the garden or putting it in the compost pile. Dispose of diseased plant material unless the compost pile is hot enough to kill disease organisms. Fall tilling or plowing in the organic matter can benefit the garden by improving soil structure. It also disrupts the life cycle of many pests, exposing larvae and pupae to winter cold.

Add “green manure” to your garden. Plant a cover crop such as winter rye or vetch to add organic matter to the garden in the spring and to reduce winter and spring weeds. Till under in the spring before any of the plants start to flower.

Protect branches on loosely branched evergreen shrubs such as arborvitae and yews from heavy snow and ice build-up. Tie the branches up with twine.

Remove mulch and tall weeds from near fruit trees and woody shrubs to discourage mice from hiding there and eating the bark. Mice damage can cause branches or entire plants to die the following summer.




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