Many people think that once winter weather has a arrived, that it’s time to “let it be” when it comes to landscaping. In a sense, this is true since many plants have gone dormant and are getting their beauty rest to prepare to bust into spring. But, paying attention and caring for your winter landscape can yield long lasting results and help to brighten up those dreary winter days. There are two main things to focus on when it comes to winter landscape maintenance: watering and mulching.
In some climates, there is enough snowfall and constant moisture that folks won’t have to worry about watering their landscape plants in the winter. For those of us who experience warmer winters or drought periods, it is important to take into consideration winter watering – mostly for our trees, shrubs, and lawns. It is especially important to water in the winter months if your landscape was just freshly installed in the Fall.
Many people are “put off” by watering in the winter because of the low temperatures and risk of freezing water hurting plant material. It is safe to water plants when temperatures are above freezing and the ground is not frozen – so it can soak into the soil around the plant. Once the water is applied, if temperatures drop below freezing, it will not harm the plant. So for example, if the ground is not frozen and the afternoon high is 39 degrees but the low at night is 27 degrees, you are safe to water in the afternoon when the temperature is above freezing.
Winter Landscape Mulching
Winter months can get dreary and bland and seem downright ugly sometimes, but a simple clean-up and mulching can do wonders to spruce up the look of your landscape and help protect your plants as well! Mulch acts as a blanket for your landscape plants insulating and protecting against shock from temperature changes.
With temperature fluctuations, plants go through a lot in the winter. In an unmulched situation, a warm, sunny winter day will warm the soil and a shrub may slightly begin to grow – only to be damaged heavily once freezing temperatures return. Also, the “freeze/thaw effect” causes soil movement, and any unmulched plants can actually be pushed up out of the ground from the soil upheaving and moving around with temperature fluctuation. It is recommended to lay between 3-6 inches of mulch for adequate insulation. Many people also prefer to use a weed prevention under mulch. Mulch itself is actually a natural weed control, but if you decide to install more weed protection, use a landscape fabric that will allow air and water penetration – not a plastic base alternative.
So, if you’re a person that enjoys being out and active in your garden, don’t let the winter blues bring you down. Keep the hose handy, clean up dead fall stuff from your winter landscape, spruce up with a layer of mulch, and enjoy your garden year round! If you are in the KC area and want help with yard clean-up and landscaping, in any season, contact us today.