Muskingum Soil and Water Provides Tips on Preparing Yards and Gardens for Winter

Local News Stories


ZANESVILLE, Oh – Fall is quickly coming to a close and winter is just around the corner.

And before the temperatures tank, many head out to their yards to rake up the fallen leaves and clear out their gardens for the year.


However, Muskingum Soil and Water encourages you to leave your leaf litter and your flowers, especially wildflowers alone.

Agriculture Technician Melissa DeVore explains that doing so is particularly beneficial to insects and their survival during the harsh winter months.

“That leaf litter provides some protection for them so they’ll survive during the winters, the harsh winter if we have one. Even the mild ones, they still need a place to live and the bees also, there’s a lot of ground nesters that they go under the ground. And then the stems on some of the stems on those flowers or wildflowers, the bees will actually use those cavities to live,” DeVore explained.


Devore adds that plants like sunflowers and coneflowers also serve as a source of food for birds during the winter and says to just leave them be,

Many people however, prefer to clear the leaves from their yards and gardens, but she warns against completley cleaning out your garden beds and instead suggests alternative ways to rid your lawns of fallen foliage.


“A good suggestion would be to maybe rake them into where your flower beds are so your puting a mulch layer down. But the leaf mulch is something that the insects can go through. SO maybe not so much the wooden mulch, but the leaf mulch they can go through. So if you want to clean up your yard, you can just put your leaf mulch to a certain area so they have a place where that can nest,” she said.

If you are interested in learning more about preparing your yard and garden for winter, plenty of resources can be found online and at http://MUSKINGUMSWCD.ORG

Maggie Warren
Maggie was born and raised in Speedway, Indiana where she developed her love and passion for weather, IndyCar and F1, hockey, and baseball, especially the Detroit Red Wings and the Cincinnati Reds. When she's not at work, she enjoys binge-watching her favorite tv shows, writing, hiking, and doing pretty much any outdoor activity! Maggie graduated from Ball State University, where she majored in meteorology/climatology, in Fall 2020. While at Ball State, she was a member of the Storm Chase Team and Cardinal Weather Service. She is also a member of the American Meteorological Society. She loves exploring new places, so if you have any recommendations of places she should visit, let her know! And if you see her around town, don't be shy, say hi!