Take care of pruning and trimming before the weather gets colder

Those beautiful grasses that look like wheat stalks waving in the wind are a huge fire hazard when growing next to your home and should be cut back now.

In order to avoid the grass stalks from blowing all over the yard, it's best to use twine or rope and wrap around the grasses before pruning them back. Use hedge shears or an electric pruner and cut about six inches up from the ground. Grasses that are not growing next to the home do not need to be cut back and can be enjoyed all winter long.

Now that the leaves have dropped, it's easier to see the branch structure of your trees.This is a great time to prune back branches that are touching, any dead branches, and any "y's"  in the branches that are not part of the central leader. The central leader is the most dominant branch growing upward on the tree. Just be careful never to take away more than a third of the tree during pruning.

That gas in your lawn mower or lawn tools has probably gone bad.The fuel mixtures these days can go bad in just 30 days and cause a lot of damage to small motors. It's best to fill up your mower with fresh gas and add a bottle of fuel stabilizer during the winter.

Finally,if you haven't taken your mower in for a tune up, this is the time. Blades should be sharpened after every ten hours of use and it's a good time to tune up the whole system from spark plugs to an oil change. Then you'll be ready in just four months when the season starts up again!

I get a lot of calls on my radio show this time of year asking "Toby, is it okay to prune my trees now?" The answer is absolutely, but keep in mind the temperatures need to be above 25 degrees during pruning - otherwise you'll damage the wood. See you next week!

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