Amid Edmonton’s El Niño: Fall Cleanup and Winter Preparation for Lawns

As Edmonton experiences the delayed onset of snowfall attributed to El Niño, homeowners find themselves in an extended autumnal phase. The Edmonton residents face a unique challenge this year: fortifying their lawns against the whims of an El Nino-influenced season. The fluctuations in the weather patterns typical of this phenomenon bring with them unexpected warmth and precipitation, requiring careful navigation of fall clean-up and preparation for the impending winter. In this article, we will provide certain insights and guide homeowners through the above process.


Fall Cleanup: Dealing with Fallen Leaves
The hallmark of the picturesque Edmonton autumn is the beautiful array of colourful leaves adorning trees. However, as they begin to descend onto lawns, managing the fallen leaves becomes vital for lawn health.

It is essential to clear the leaves promptly. Leaving them unattended can smother the grass, and block sunlight and flow of air, leading to potential mould or disease issues.
Timely and regular removal of the fallen leaves ensures that the grass beneath receives essential sunlight and oxygen.

Raking or using a leaf blower to gather leaves into compost bins or yard waste bags helps in maintaining lawn health. A nutrient-rich compost can be prepared from these leaves and used to fertilize the garden beds in the spring. Alternatively, another solution is mulching leaves using a lawnmower. By this process, the leaves can be shredded into smaller pieces, which can provide a natural fertilizer as the leaves begin to decompose. This is useful in enhancing soil fertility in the long run.

Efficient leaf management techniques can help Edmonton residents preserve their health as well as the aesthetic appeal of their lawns.

Adjusting Lawn Care Practices
Owing to the delay in the snowfall in Edmonton, lawn care practices need to be adapted accordingly. Some steps to fine-tune lawn care during the fall are enumerated below:

  • Mowing should be continued regularly till the grass growth slows down. The ideal grass height for winter is around 2-2.5 inches.
  • Aerating the lawn loosens the compacted soil and enhances soil drainage as well as air circulation, lessening the risk of fungal growth. It promotes better nutrient absorption and robust development of the roots.
  • Fertilizing in the fall is vital to support root growth and overall lawn health. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to fortify the grass with essential nutrients.
  • Consider overseeding – this improves grass density, fills in sparse areas and boosts the overall resilience of the lawn against potential stressors brought on by El Nino-influenced weather.
  • Watering practices should be adapted keeping in mind the changing weather patterns. While Edmonton typically experiences cooler temperatures during fall, the El Niño influence might be responsible for unexpected warmth or dryness. Monitor soil moisture and supplement water as required to ensure that the grass remains adequately hydrated.

Winter Preparation: Anticipating the Cold
The winters in Edmonton, especially when influenced by El Nino, require proactive measures to be initiated by homeowners to safeguard their lawns from the harsh conditions.

  • As temperatures drop, a late fall aeration will help to facilitate better drainage and nutrient absorption.
  • The lawn should be cleared of debris and thatch to prevent pest infestations and snow mould during the winter months.
  • Before the ground freezes, a final round of watering is useful since it helps the grassroots access moisture during the winter months when natural precipitation might be limited.
  • Piling of snow on the lawns can damage the grass beneath. Clearing the snow from the driveways and walkways prevents the formation of ice and reduces salt damage to nearby grass and plants.

Protective Measures for Plants and Shrubs

  • Delicate plants and shrubs susceptible to frost damage ought to be covered with frost cloths or burlap. These covers protect and insulate these plants during the winter by shielding them from extreme temperature fluctuations and harsh winds.
    In Edmonton, safeguarding plants and shrubs against the unpredictable weather fluctuations caused by El Nino is critical. The simple protective measures mentioned below will ensure the survival and vitality of the lawns:
  • Applying mulch around the base of plants insulates it, protecting the roots from extreme cold. It regulates the soil temperature and moisture levels, reducing temperature stress.
  • Vulnerable plants, especially those sensitive to frost, should be wrapped with burlap or frost cloth. These coverings guard them from harsh winds and temperature swings, preserving their health during the winter months.
  • Make sure that the plants are adequately watered before the freezing temperatures set in.
  • Dead or damaged branches ought to be pruned before the winter sets in. Timely pruning promotes plant health by eliminating potential sources of disease or breakage.
  • Setting up screens or temporary wind barriers around delicate plants and shrubs helps to deflect harsh winds, preserving them from winter damage.

The delayed snowfall in Edmonton due to the influence of El Niño offers an extended opportunity to its residents for fall cleanup and winter preparation. By implementing simple measures, Edmonton residents can not only preserve the visual appeal of their lawns but also foster a lush and resilient lawn capable of withstanding the challenges posed by the city’s unique climate patterns during this El Nino-affected season. So go ahead, safeguard your lawns and embrace the changing seasons with confidence!


Here’s a Global News report about the unusual conditions of the El Nino in Edmonton.


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