Winter’s arctic temperatures are here. While we’re pulling up cozy blankets and drinking hot cocoa, our landscaping needs some TLC as well. Winter landscape care will help keep your plants healthy until spring returns. Here are some practical tips and tricks for you to use now to be ready for spring.
Assessing Your Landscape
The very first step in tackling winterizing is taking a moment to look at your landscape. Wander through your yard and pay attention to the state of your plants. Find the vulnerable spots and plants that will likely need some extra care.
Be on the lookout for any drainage issues and make sure there’s no water accumulating near the roots of your plants as this can lead to rot or disease. Also, consider the structural integrity of hardscaping like fences, retaining walls, or pathways. Remember winter weather can damage them too.
Pruning and Trimming
Trimming back overgrown branches and pruning perennials ensures they have enough room to grow again in the spring. You can start by removing dead or damaged stems. Cut them back to the plant’s base, and use sharp, clean tools to prevent tearing. Next, trim back overgrown branches. Make clean cuts just above a bud or lateral branch to promote healthy regrowth and minimize the risk of disease or pest infestation.
For shrubs and trees, use the three-cut method to remove larger branches. First, make an undercut on the branch a few inches from the trunk. Then, make a second cut a few inches further out on the branch. Finally, make the final cut just outside the branch collar to remove the remaining stub.
Mulching and Insulation
Adding a layer of mulch is like zipping your plants up in a heavy winter coat. This layer acts as insulation, protecting the roots from freezing temperatures. Just be sure to pick the right materials for your mulch — leaves, straw, or wood chips will all work well depending on the climate. Wood chips are denser and can provide better insulation in colder climates, helping to retain soil warmth and protect roots from freezing temperatures. In contrast, straw or leaves may break down more quickly in warmer climates and provide better aeration for the soil.
Plants don’t need as much water when it’s cold, but you shouldn’t completely forget about them. Instead, adjust how frequently you water them based on the specific needs of each plant. Check if the soil is dry. If it’s moist, you may not need to water as often.
Try to water during the warmest part of the day. This allows the water to soak into the soil before temperatures drop in the evening. Make sure plants receive proper hydration before the freezing temperatures hit. This prevents root desiccation and helps to keep them hydrated through the frost.
Protecting Sensitive Plants
Some plants are more delicate than others. You can wrap them up in burlap or use protective covers to shield them from the harsh winter weather. Take advantage of anti-transpirant sprays that form a thin, invisible film on the leaves of plants. This helps to reduce water loss, especially during the winter months as plants struggle to retain moisture due to dry air and cold winds.
Overall, protecting sensitive plants from winter weather requires a combination of strategies, including using anti-transpirant sprays and insulating the soil with mulch. By taking these steps, you can shield sensitive plants from harsh winter winds and help them survive the winter so they’ll look beautiful in the spring.
If you follow these winter landscaping tips, you can have a vibrant and flourishing yard in the spring. Take the time to assess, prune, mulch, water, and protect your plants. Your landscape will thank you for taking good care of it, and you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking display of life when winter bids farewell. So gear up, grab your gardening gloves, and let’s give your landscape a wonderful winter!
For more information, get in touch with RELS Landscaping today!