How to Winterize Your Lawn and Garden

Winterizing your lawn and garden is essential to ensure healthy growth in the following spring. Some important steps include cleaning up fallen leaves and debris, fertilizing, and protecting plants with mulch or covers.

Contents

Preparing Your Lawn and Garden for Winter

As the days grow shorter and colder, it’s important to start thinking about getting your lawn and garden ready for winter. By taking steps to prepare now, you can ensure that your plants survive the freezing temperatures and come back strong when spring arrives.

Clearing Out Your Garden Beds

One of the first steps to winterizing your lawn and garden is clearing out any annuals or vegetable plants that won’t survive the cold weather. These plants will eventually die off on their own, but removing them now can help prevent the spread of diseases and pests that could harm other plants in your garden.

Removing Annuals and Vegetable Plants

When removing annuals or vegetables from your garden beds, be sure to pull up as much of the root system as possible. Leaving roots behind can lead to problems like root rot or attract pests in the soil. You should also consider adding any healthy plant debris to a compost pile for use later on.

Cutting Back Perennials

Next, you’ll want to take care of any perennials in your garden by cutting them back before the first frost. This helps prevent disease while also improving airflow around plant crowns during winter dormancy.

Some perennials will benefit from being cut down completely, while others only need their foliage trimmed away. Be sure to research each specific type of perennial you have in order to determine their unique needs.

Preparing Your Lawn

In addition to preparing garden beds, it’s important to give some attention to your lawn so it can thrive once warmer weather returns. Here are a few key ways you can do just that:

Mowing Your Lawn

You might think you’re done mowing once leaves start falling off trees—but grass likes being kept short until late fall/early winter when growth slows down naturally with short daylight hours. It may sound counterintuitive but experts recommend setting mower blades slightly lower than during warm season to control buildup of frost-loving dew.

Aerating Your Lawn

Aerating involves making small holes in your lawn to help water and nutrients reach the soil more easily. This can be done either by using a manual aerator or hiring a professional who uses a larger machine. In some cases, you may also need to add additional soil to your lawn.

Applying Compost

Compost is always beneficial for any garden but it’s especially useful when preparing your lawn for winter. By adding compost to your grass, you’ll give it extra nutrients that it needs when growing resumes next year. It also helps protect roots and build strong root systems that can withstand cold spells and any lack of rainfall.

Winterizing Your Garden Equipment

Finally, it’s important to take care of any garden tools and equipment so they’re ready for use again next spring. Here are two tasks you should consider before storing away gardening items:

Cleaning and Storing Garden Hoses

Make sure all the hoses on your property are drained properly after each use before storing them away in a dry place that is free from temperature swings or direct sunlight exposure throughout winter months. You can do this by disconnecting the hose from spigot first then hanging over fence or railing every few feet until completely empty inside out.

Cleaning and Sharpening Garden Tools

When it comes to pruning shears or shovels make sure all tools are clean; sterilize blades through wiping handles down with rubbing alcohol prior necessary scraping off debris buildup on blades using wire brush cleaner; sharpened edge of cutting surface too keeps tool kit ready while keeping injury risks at bay.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your lawn and garden survive the harsh winter weather without suffering permanent damage. With just a little effort now, you’ll set yourself up for success come springtime when new growth starts sprouting up everywhere!

What is Garden maintenance?

Garden maintenance involves performing regular upkeep tasks like watering, pruning, weeding, and mowing to keep a garden looking healthy and attractive. [Wikipedia]

Protecting Your Plants From Frost and Freezing

As the winter season approaches, it is important to prepare your lawn and garden for the harsh weather conditions. Frost and freezing temperatures can cause significant damage to your plants if proper measures are not taken.

Identifying Frost and Freeze Damage

Before discussing ways to protect your plants, it is important to know how to identify frost and freeze damage. When there is a sudden drop in temperature, ice crystals can form on the surface of plant cells, causing them to burst open. This can result in visible black or brown spots on leaves or stems. In some cases, the entire leaf or stem may turn black and wilt.

To determine if a plant has been damaged by frost or freezing temperatures, you can follow these steps:

  1. Look for signs of discoloration on leaves or stems.
  2. Gently touch the plant – if it feels mushy, this could indicate that the cells have burst open.
  3. Check for signs of wilting.

If you suspect that a plant has been damaged by frost or freezing temperatures, it is best to wait until spring before pruning any dead areas.

Covering and Protecting Your Plants

One way to protect your plants from frost and freezing temperatures is by covering them up. There are several methods for covering plants depending on their size and location:

Using Mulch to Protect Roots

Mulch acts as an insulator that protects roots from extreme temperature changes. It also helps retain moisture around the roots during dry winter months.

To use mulch as a protection method:

  1. Apply a layer of 2-3 inches of mulch around the base of plants.
  2. Make sure not to cover the stem or trunk as this could cause rotting.
  3. Use organic materials such as straw, leaves or bark chips which will decompose over time and add nutrients to the soil.
Using Fabric to Protect Plants

Another option is to use fabric as a protective covering for plants. This method works well for small plants or those that are planted in pots. Lightweight fabrics such as blankets, burlap or row covers can provide insulation against cold temperatures.

To use fabric as a protection method:

  1. Drape the fabric loosely over the plant.
  2. Secure it with stakes, bricks or rocks.
  3. Make sure that the entire plant and surrounding soil is covered.

Bringing in Potted Plants

Potted plants are more vulnerable to frost and freezing temperatures because their roots are outside of the ground and not insulated by soil. If you have potted plants, it’s important to bring them inside before the first frost of the season.

Preparing Your Potted Plants

Before bringing potted plants indoors, there are several steps that should be taken:

  1. Water your plant thoroughly a few days before moving it indoors.
  2. Inspect your plant for pests or diseases.
  3. Prune any dead or damaged branches or leaves.
  4. Repot your plant if necessary, using fresh potting soil.
Storing Potted Plants Indoors

Once you have prepared your potted plants for indoor storage, there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Choose an area with bright but indirect sunlight.
  2. Keep your plant away from drafts – near windows or doors may cause rapid temperature changes which can stress your plant.
  3. Rotate your plant every week to ensure equal sunlight exposure on all sides of the plant.
  4. Water sparingly – indoor air tends to be drier than outdoor air so make sure not to over-water.

By following these steps, you can safely store your potted plants indoors during winter months without causing damage.

Cleaning and Storing Garden Tools and Accessories

Winter is the perfect time to clean and store your garden tools and accessories before they hibernate for the winter. Proper cleaning and storage ensure that your tools are in good condition when it’s time to use them next Spring.

Cleaning Your Garden Tools

Cleaning your garden tools is an essential step towards maximizing their lifespan, preventing rust, and germ transfer between plants. Follow these simple steps to clean your gardening tools:

  1. Wear protective gloves since some of the grime, or sharp edges from pruners can injure you.

  2. Use a bristle brush; hard-bristle brushes are suitable for hand trowels, spades, small hoes while softer brushes work great for delicate or complex tool surfaces.

  3. Scrape off any grass stuck on Lawnmower blades before brushing with the same hard bristled brush.

  4. For dirt buildup on garden hoses- hang up straightly first then remove nozzles if still intact.- release the water from one end to pour out trapped dirt followed by a gentle rinse-down using a pressure sprayer-gun nozzle. If possible, allow it to dry entirely before rewinding it down together gently.

  5. Clean metal pruning shears with rubbing alcohol then wipe them again with dry cloths.

  6. Spray all metallic parts with silicone spray followed by light applications of linseed oil using a rag -ensuring each area receives a light coating of oil. This will prevent rust build-up over winter months.

  7. Lastly, don’t forget cleaning small partial areas carefully such as underneath bolted areas, corners, creases as well as hinges making sure thorough elimination of debris plus soil particles.

Following this guide could save troubles caused by rusty/dusty garden gears when Spring comes around-It will also minimize fungal diseases moving through your plant beds due to cross-contamination via dirty gear contact..

Storing Your Garden Tools

Now that your tools are clean -how do you keep them ready for next year’s gardening activities?. Leaving them outside in the cold exposes shovels, shears, hoes et al. to the extreme elements thus minimising their longevity.

The following tips provide a comprehensive summary on how best to store your garden instruments:

Storing Tools in a Shed or Garage

If you have space in a shed or garage to store gardening instruments, use it! Here’s how:

  1. First off, Ensure all metallic pieces get dry and avoid rust holes by wiping them down entirely using rags demarcated for oily paints cleanup. Store them neatly within the storage area; some people use hung-up hooks while others create compartments and drawers where they can be slid in-paint brushes-roll up bags retain small garden implements such as gloves, osha, and secateurs, in order not to take lots of space.

  2. Line-up heavy-duty husk bags-or tool baskets-demarcated with cellular boards at the minimum twelve inches (30cms) long -and stash gardening equipment say mowers, cultivators, oil cans, trowels plus spades. Just remember- before placing any equipment ensure its dirt-free since moisture-trapping can cause rust later on.

  3. Insert big equipment into sturdy containers which can stack compactly-mower parts, power trimmers, and pressure-washer hoses would be secure when put together then labeled for quick access-if there are assorted categories.

Remember to keep sharp tools separate from each other-a file will help sharpen various dull blades like miter saws-pruners-cleavers-and hedge clippers so tiresome when going through your bag of tricks!.

Storing Tools in a Bucket of Sand

A bucket filled with dry sand is an excellent temporary storage option if you don’t have a shed or garage available here’s how:

  1. First remember-Tools need preparation almost similar to that for a closed storage area-Clean every metal blade to inhibit rust, harden the metallic sections with oil-Rosemary oils or camphor usually deter insects and rodents!

  2. Fill up a bucket with dry sand and stuff your gardening instruments vertically then turn off the top layer to eliminate moisture accumulation. Ensure they’re fully buried allowing some space in between tools to prevent chipping and scratching against each other.

  3. Place your makeshift storage unit in a corner where it won’t be obstructive, wear gloves when reaching in -Do always keep your secured items locked away from children and minors!.

Applying Fertilizers and Nutrients to the Soil

Fertilizing your lawn and garden is an important part of maintaining a healthy and beautiful landscape. While many people only apply fertilizers during the spring and summer months, it’s also important to consider fertilizing during the winter. Winter fertilization can help prepare your lawn and garden for the colder months and give them the nutrients they need to thrive come spring.

Why Fertilize in the Winter

There are many benefits to fertilizing your lawn and garden during the winter.

  • Prepares for Cold Weather: One of the main reasons to fertilize in the winter is that it helps ensure that your lawn and garden have enough nutrients to survive through the cold weather. During this time, plants go into a dormant state, but their root systems continue to grow slowly beneath the surface. By providing fertilizer, you give these roots essential nutrients they need.
  • Promotes Growth: Winter fertilizers can help promote growth in cool-season grasses such as fescue or bluegrass throughout cooler temperatures. It provides food for roots so when warmer temperatures arrive; roots start growing again.
  • Maintains Appearance: Fertilizing in winter also helps maintain appearance by keeping foliage from yellowing, which can happen because plants do not produce enough chlorophyll due to lack of sunlight.
  • Fewer Weeds: Weeds may take over such areas where vegetation has weakened or died off.

The Best Winter Fertilizers

Choosing a good quality fertilizer is crucial since different types work differently during different seasons.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic materials contain natural substances essential for plant growth without chemicals. They build up soil structure by supporting habitats of microorganisms critical for nutrient absorption.

Some common organic fertilizers effective during winters include:

  • Fish Meal: A naturally occurring fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, with added calcium content that stimulates root growth and makes your plants resistant to diseases.
  • Blood Meal: An excellent source of nitrogen, that is good for fast-acting soil amending. It’s a by-product of animal slaughterhouses, smells bad, and must wear gloves when handling since it also attracts dogs.
  • Bone Meal: Made from finely ground bones and provides a slow-release of phosphorous into the soil which stimulates flowering and root development.
Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers are synthetic or man-made elements blended together in specific proportions.

Some common examples include:

  • Urea: A natural-based non-acidic fertilizer and contains nitrogen as its primary nutrient that quickly releases in soil when moistened. It promotes substantive greening of foliage without excessive top growth.
  • Diammonium Phosphate (DAP): It has two essential nutrients, nitrogen, and phosphate. Typically used as an additive with potash during winter-care turf programs providing quick targeted nourishment.
  • Potassium Chloride (KCl): Commonly known as muriate-of-potash fertilizer. Potassium chloride plays an essential role in activating enzymes responsible for photosynthesis like chlorophyll synthesis.

When applying inorganic fertilizers, you should read the instructions before application carefully.

It’s crucial to be cautious while using chemical fertilizers because they contain toxic substances that can burn plant life if not applied correctly.

It is important to get help from a professional lawn care service provider who use natural and organic lawn fertilization solutions throughout winterizing the lawn process.

To maintain healthy vegetation on your property specifically during winters would require expert attention to identify what type of grass you have onsite the condition its soil requirements. Professional advice could assist in selecting the best approach for flourishing greenery optimization especially throughout cold seasons like winter where problems mostly arise when precipitation levels drop.

Applying fertilizer during the winters seems complicated, but these tips mentioned above could ensure the lawn stays healthy, lush, and green come spring. By using organic fertilizers or other safe inorganic chemical products with guaranteed quality, expert help can fix any winterizing concerns you may have for your lawn and garden.

So, go ahead and give it a try!

Pruning Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

Winter may not seem like an ideal time to prune your trees, shrubs, and perennials, but it’s actually the best time for certain types of plants. Proper winter pruning can lead to healthier growth in the spring and summer months.

Why Prune in the Winter

  • Dormancy: During the winter months, many plants enter a dormant phase where they slow their growth and reduce metabolic activity. This means that pruning during this time will be less stressful on the plant than pruning during periods of active growth.
  • Structural Integrity: By removing dead or diseased branches during the winter months, your plants will have improved structural integrity come spring. This is especially important for trees facing heavy snow loads or high winds.
  • Shape Control: Pruning in the winter allows you to maintain desired shapes for your trees and shrubs before new growth starts.

How to Prune

Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Before starting any prune job, make sure to have proper tools on hand like sharp shears or pruning saws. It’s also essential that you sterilize any cutting blades before use to avoid the spread of diseases.

When it comes to tree pruning, there are two primary methods: thinning and heading back. Thinning removes entire branches at their point of origin while heading back involves trimming branches at a specific point along their length.

For shrubbery with multiple stems growing from one base, start by removing any dead or crossing branches first. Then thin out excess growth until you reach the ideal balance between foliage density and overall size.

Pruning Perennials

Perennial plants offer unique challenges when it comes to pruning due to their shorter lifespan than trees or shrubs. Still, proper trimming can help revitalize older plants while encouraging healthier root development for younger ones.

Begin by cutting back spent flower stems on each plant. Next, remove any dead or yellowing leaves to allow the remaining foliage more access to sunlight and nutrients. Finally, cut back stems to within a few inches of the soil, ensuring you don’t trim too close.

Mulching and Composting Your Beds

Winterizing your lawn and garden involves a lot more than simply raking leaves and cutting back dead growth. One important step that often gets overlooked is mulching and composting your garden beds. Not only does this help protect plants from the harsh winter weather, but it also ensures they have the nutrients they need to thrive come springtime.

Benefits of Mulching

Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material applied to the soil surface around plants. There are many benefits to mulching, including:

  • Insulation: Mulch acts as insulation for plant roots, helping to keep them warm during cold winter months.
  • Moisture retention: A layer of mulch can help keep soil moist by reducing evaporation. This is especially important during periods of drought or low rainfall.
  • Weed suppression: Mulch can help prevent weed seeds from germinating by blocking out sunlight.
  • Soil improvement: As mulch breaks down over time, it contributes organic matter to the soil, improving overall soil health.

Types of Mulch

There are two main types of mulch – organic and inorganic.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulches are made from natural materials like leaves, straw, grass clippings, wood chips, or composted yard waste. They break down over time and contribute valuable nutrients to the soil.

Some popular types of organic mulch include:

  • Shredded leaves
  • Wood chips
  • Pine needles
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw
  • Composted manure

When applying organic mulches in your garden beds, be sure to leave a small gap between the base of plants and the mulch itself. This will prevent moisture buildup around plant stems which can lead to rotting.

Inorganic Mulch

Inorganic mulches are typically made from non-natural materials such as stone, gravel or rubber chips. They do not break down over time and are much slower to decay compared to organic mulches. While inorganic mulch does not provide the nutrient benefits of organic mulch, they do have their own set of benefits.

Some examples of inorganic mulches include:

  • Gravel
  • River rock
  • Crushed stone
  • Landscape fabric

Inorganic mulches have the added benefit of providing a consistent texture and weed suppressant that most organic materials can’t give.

Composting Your Garden Waste

Composting is the natural process of recycling organic waste into a rich soil amendment. Done properly, it’s an easy and efficient way to dispose of garden debris while also enriching your soil.

Creating a Compost Pile

To start composting, you’ll need an area to house your compost such as a bin or pile. You can purchase pre-made bins or build your own using wood pallets or wire mesh.

When creating a compost pile, you’ll want to include the following items:

  • “Green” waste: This includes things like grass clippings, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags.
  • “Brown” waste: Items such as autumn leaves, pine needles, straw or newspaper provide carbon-rich material which serves as the energy source for decomposers.
  • Water: Moisture is needed for decomposition so be sure to keep your compost moist but not soaked.
  • Oxygen: Providing good air flow into your compost pile promotes aerobic decomposition (decomposition through microorganisms who require oxygen) vs anaerobic decomposition (decomposition without oxygen which produces an unpleasant odor).

It’s important when preparing your compost heap that you use green vs brown waste in proportion; aim for 1-part green matter and 2-parts brown matter.

Once all these elements are mixed together nicely with some grits on top acting as bacteria from dirt – start churning it every other week (if possible). Within 3-6 months you would have created fertile soil black gold and all your organic waste is turned into a resource.

Using Compost in Your Garden

Composted material is rich in nutrients and helps promote healthy plant growth. It also improves soil structure by adding beneficial microorganisms that increase soil’s ability to retain moisture and suppress diseases.

When using compost, apply it directly on top of the soil or mix it with existing soil before planting. A layer of compost around established plants will provide an extra boost, especially during heavy application twice a year which is enough for most plants.

Mulching and composting your garden beds should be part of every gardener’s winterizing routine. Taking these simple steps will help protect your plants from the harsh winter weather while at the same time ensuring they have the nutrients they need to thrive come springtime.

Preventing Soil Erosion and Drainage Issues

Maintaining a healthy lawn and garden requires not just attention to the plants themselves, but also the conditions in which they grow. One of the greatest threats to your garden’s health is soil erosion, particularly during the winter months when heavy rains and snowmelt can wash away topsoil and valuable nutrients. Waterlogged soil can also lead to poor drainage and create an environment where plants struggle to survive. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent erosion and drainage problems in your lawn and garden.

Examining Your Garden

Before you can address issues with erosion or poor drainage in your yard, it’s important to examine the lay of the land. Take a walk around your property after a rain or during snowmelt so that you can observe how water flows through different areas. Are there places where it seems to pool or drain slowly? Do you notice that some sections of your property are prone to soil loss or slippage? Once you’ve identified these areas, it will be easier to determine what steps need to be taken.

Identifying Problem Areas

Some common problem areas include:

  • Sloping land: If your property slopes downward towards a body of water like a lake or pond, this increases the likelihood of erosion.
  • Poorly drained spots: Areas where water pools or takes too long too drain may indicate denser clay content in the soil.
  • High traffic zones: Paths that see frequent foot traffic become compacted easily, leading to less permeability for water.
  • Bare soil: Soil without foliage protection is more susceptible to wind and rain erosion.
Finding Solutions

Here are a few ways you might address issues seen on closer inspection:

  • Plant ground cover such as clover/grasses around high traffic areas; their root structures act as stabilizers for many types of soil.
  • Build retaining walls using stone or landscape bricks into slope areas to reduce rate of erosion and potential mudslides.
  • Creating rain gardens where excess water will collect & dwell into trenches. Plants that tolerate standing water can be around the edge.
  • Add mulch or other protective coverings over bare soil that could erode.

Creating Drainage Solutions

The key to addressing drainage issues is creating an effective system through which excess water can be carried from high risk zones to lower ones, mimicking nature’s absorption patterns.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens have become popular tools for managing stormwater flow in residential properties, especially those with modest areas of disturbance because they take on a more landscaped appearance unlike piping systems. Typically placed in spots with heavy runoff, rain garden projects involve excavating and filling the dig with permeable soils/compost before planting specially chosen plants often used to handle being under ‘wet feet’ scenarios without suffering root rot or other setbacks. The idea is the garden fills up when it rains but then gradually drains back into soil surrounding it rather than debris floods less resilient foliage nearby.

Swales

Similar to rain gardens are swales and bioswales, long channels covered in grasses designed to intercept runoff flowing down slopes by lengthening its path between soaked lands so absorption has time to happen naturally. They’re particularly effective when placed at/below grade break points marking land depressions due to their ability to halt/guide moving fluid as needed either toward collector drains or distribution sites like lawn beds and greenhouses.

By keeping drainage and erosion concerns top of mind throughout winterization measures in your lawn management routine, you can make certain your yard is well equipped in handling whatever seasonal disturbances come its way. As we all know Minnesota weather likes switching things up frequently!

Identifying and Treating Common Winter Lawn Issues

As winter approaches, it is important to consider the issues that your lawn may face during the colder months. Identifying and treating these common winter lawn problems can help ensure that your lawn stays healthy and green year-round.

Winter Lawn Problems

During the winter season, several issues can affect your grass through snow, ice, frost or extreme cold weather. The most common winter lawn problems are:

Winter Weeds

Winter annuals such as chickweed and henbit can often pop up in lawns during mild winters. These weeds have a low growing habit and spread quickly across the turf especially if there’s any bare soil visible because of weak turf coverage.

To prevent them from taking over your yard, try to stop them before they emerge. Adding pre-emergent herbicide applications on late August or early September will be very effective to keep them under control. You can also hand pull them when you see young seedlings emerging from soil.

Snow Mold

Another issue that homeowners may face during the winter is snow mold disease on susceptible lawns found at areas with high snowfall accumulation and persistent cool temperatures like freezing thaw cycle.

Snow mold appears as circular patches of dead or brownish grass just a few days after snow melts away (pink & gray types). Most of this type doesn’t require intervention since they will recover naturally when once air temperatures go along warmer spring conditions.

However, without proper treatment, it can spread rapidly throughout your entire yard, leaving unsightly brown spots on your lawn for months after the snow has melted away. So, prevention beforehand is crucial!

Solutions for Winter Lawn Problems

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat these common winter lawn issues so you don’t have to worry about having unsightly patches in your garden come spring.

Adding More Seed

One solution for thin grass coverage (Bare Soil) or erosion is overseeding your lawn with turfgrass seed to both improve density and increase the resistance of grass blades to the pressures from weeds, disease, and foot traffic. Different approaches are suitable for different climates or degraded lawns:

  • In regions where winter isn’t as harsh, cool-season species mixes like fescue can help strengthen your yard’s resistance to future weed or pest outbreaks.
  • For regions susceptible to snow mold fungus diseases, plant resistant varieties such as Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) in late summer/early autumn before winter precipitation comes.
  • Overfeeding your yard during late summers up to winter pre-hibernation seasons will account for boosted nutrient reserves that root development requires; thus increasing turf vigor.
Using Fungicides

Treating Snow Mold shouldn’t be complicated once you detect its presence accurately. Although it doesn’t require much interference at all And often cures by itself when the temperatures start rising a bit in spring!, adding fungicide treatments sometimes proves crucial if the issue is out of hands.

Several types of fungicides can help control snow mold on your lawn. They generally come on liquid, granule or pellet form for easy application and foliage absorption mechanisms by reducing fungal spores replication around snow patches:

  • Triadimefon plants absorb this chemical through their leaves resulting in noticeable improvements within one week.
  • Propiconazole controls fungi growth on mildew spots and bacteria accumulation bugs that result from prolonged water damage or soil improper drainage conditions by increasing root rigidity on treated plants.
  • Chlorothalonil could have positive effects on common blighting issues such as anthracnose or Gray leaf spot in case they occur together with other overwintering pathogens; however, don’t forget this is a post-problem approach.

By being aware of common winter lawn issues and utilizing these solutions early on, you can ensure that your lawn stays healthy throughout the year. Remember to analyze local climates beforehand so that suitable varieties are planted and take measures to keep them healthy when critical conditions arrive!

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