If you have already had a killing frost, look at your lawn to see if you have any dead crabgrass. These photos will help you figure out what to look for.
If you see patches of dead crabgrass now, you can expect lots more crabgrass next summer from all the crabgrass seeds left behind in your soil. You can stop crabgrass before it starts next spring. Mark your calendar to remind yourself to apply crabgrass preventer, also known as crabgrass preemergent, around the time of your first mowing. Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer prevents crabgrass and other grassy weeds before they sprout while giving your lawn a good feeding to help your grass fill-in thin areas. If you plan on putting down grass seed next spring, use a special crabgrass preventer like Scotts Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer that will not prevent your good grass seed from sprouting the same time it is preventing the crabgrass.
We love watching birds eat all the hanging fruit on our Crabapples, Serviceberries, Hawthorns and Winterberries. Now is a good time to visit your local garden center, public gardens or arboretums to see plants that are showing off unique winter characteristics like bark, berries or shapes. Now is also a great time to plant shrubs and trees around your home.
Another approach to finding the kinds of plants to grow around your home to attract birds is to do an internet search using key words: birds, plants and your state. For example, here are links that I found for Ohio, Colorado, and Georgia.
I get this “last mowing of the year” question around this time especially in areas of the country that get snow. Some folks say: “Take it down lower.” Others say: “Leave it long.”
My answer: Continue mowing your grass until it stops growing at the recommended mowing height that you have been using all season. For northern grasses like bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue this is 2-1/2 inches to 3 inches after the cut. If you have been mowing 3 inches or taller, you could drop your mower a notch, however do not scalp your lawn for the final mowing of the year.
If you have only fed your lawn once this fall, you still have a chance to really boost your lawn’s root system with a feeding of Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Food this month.
Our house in Ohio was an older home in a wooded area that was prone to an annual mouse invasion during the onset of cold weather. Dudley, our cat, was a good signal that there was a mouse in the house when he would get all stirred up or if he spent long periods of time staring at the bottom of the frig, washer or the door to the garage.
Here are some signals that may alert you to mice in your house:
Are your pets upset?
They can get stirred up when they hear and smell rodents in the house.
Can you see rodent droppings?
Rat droppings are shiny black, blunt at both ends, and ½ – ¾ of an inch long. Mice droppings are smooth, with pointed ends, usually about 1/8 – ¼ of an inch long.
Do you see small tracks and tail trails in dusty areas?
Look for them in corners, along baseboards, and near sources of food.
Do you see areas where wood has been gnawed?
Tooth marks that are 1/8 of an inch long may indicate rats; small, scratchy ones may indicate mice.
Do you see smears along baseboards and other areas?
Those could be rub marks caused by grease and dirt on rat fur.
Is there a heavy musky odor in the house?
Rats and mice smell bad.
Click here to see how to rid your home of mice and other rodents. I especially liked using the Kill & Contain Traps.
It’s early November and doing something for your lawn may not be on your radar. But it should be. If you have a Bluegrass, Fescue or Ryegrass lawn, your grass roots are still growing in your soil that is warmer than air temperatures. Even if you’ve already fed this fall, another feeding now can really help build these grass roots. So put on your gloves and ear muffs and get out your lawn spreader, and feed your lawn one more time with Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Lawn Food.
You won’t be alone. Expert turf researchers will be doing the same thing with their lawns. For example, Ohio State University turf experts say you should get your last winterizing feeding down by the middle of November. Virginia Tech, Penn State and Michigan State Agronomists also agree that you get a big benefit from a November feeding. So, even if you are in the far north, this coming weekend is not too late to get your lawn fed.
I have more good news for you. Rather than raking your tree leaves, save time by mowing them to dime size just prior to feeding. This will help them “compost on your lawn”. The key to this working is to feed after you have mowed the leaves to get them down to dime size.
One last bit of advice. If you’ve got weeds and want to spread Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed and Feed instead of Turf Builder WinterGuard, your mid-day temps need to still reach 60 degrees the day you apply. Be sure to apply your Weed and Feed when the grass is moist and rain is not forecasted for 24 hours.
Listen to smart vegetable gardeners and they will tell you: “Clean up your vegetable garden before winter to help control insects and diseases next year.”
Since I have learned a great deal by following the advice of smart vegetable gardeners, I always clean up all remaining “summer” veggies (like peppers, tomatoes, basil, etc.) in fall. I also mix compost and ground up tree leaves into the soil this time of year. If you do not have your own compost, you can pick up bagged compost such as Miracle Gro Organic Choice Garden Soil or Nature’s Care Really Good Compost at your local garden center.
So put on your winter jacket and get some exercise cleaning up your veggie patch. Come spring you will be glad you did.
Each year we choose different plants for our winter container gardens. This year we went with 4 small shrubs that combine interesting texture, color and growth habit. We plan on transplanting these shrubs into a more permanent location next spring. Here are photos of our winter containers over the past four years:
One nice thing about winter container gardens is that they don’t need much care as long as you use a good soil like we did. Even though we were tempted to use the old soil in the pot from our spring/summer plantings, we know it is best to start off with fresh soil. We used Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This special mix helps keep you from over and under watering. We feed our plants Osmocote to provide nourishment for the entire season
Just to show you how plant roots love this soil, check out this photo of the root mass that filled these containers during summer.