Upper South

November, 2003
Regional Report

Winterize Power Equipment

Either drain the gas tank, run equipment until out of gas, or add a gas stabilizer to a full tank of gas in lawn mowers and other power equipment. Change the oil and clean or change the air filters. Clean soil, grass, and other debris from the equipment. Sharpen or replace blades as necessary.

Clean and Organize

Wash and dry spades, shovels, trowels, rakes, and other garden tools. Rub vegetable oil on blades and tines to keep them from rusting. Sharpen spades, knives, and pruners as needed. If you don't have an efficient way of organizing your tools, take the time now to develop a system. Use pegboard, tool hangers, and other methods to easily keep track of tools.

Use Antidessicants

Broad-leaved evergreens, such as hollies, azaleas, rhododendrons, and pieris, lose water through their leaves all year long. Drying winds and frozen soil aggravate water loss. To reduce moisture loss, use an antidessicant spray, available at garden centers, that slows water loss by coating the leaves. Apply according to manufacturer's directions.

Protecting Terra Cotta, Hoses, and Faucets

Remove from the garden all terra-cotta containers and ornaments as well as any other yard art that can be damaged by freezing. Drain hoses and sprinklers. Coil hoses, tie, and hang up in a protected place. Open or remove any shut-off devices on outside facuets. If the outdoor faucet is not a frost-proof one, shut off the supply valve indoors.

Protect Trunks

Make sure all mulch around trees and shrubs is pulled back a few inches from the trunk so that rodents aren't as likely to have lunch on the bark during winter. Protect the trunks of young trees with some type of tree wrap, which will prevent sunscald -- the splitting of the bark due to warm days and cold nights.

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