“Old Man Winter” is right around the corner and its time to prepare your planting beds for the harsh environment that is about to come. As soon as we have a good hard frost it will be time to put your garden to bed for the winter.
How do we do that? The first step in preparing your garden is cleanup and removal. Cut back dry perennial stems down to the ground and remove any debris like leaves and branches. Also, remove any summer annuals that are soon to be past their peak and fading fast.
Next, you want to put down a good natural insulating layer in the beds. Shredded bark mulch is perfect for this. This mulch layer will protect plants and soil over the winter months. Another good resource for your planting beds is to use the leaves that fall from your trees. Grind the leaves up and distribute around the garden beds.
If you planted bulbs in your garden, it might be good idea to protect them too. Using sod staples, pin down evergreen boughs over the bulb planting area to protect the soil from shifting and heaving due to frigid winter weather. The boughs also provide greenery in a mostly barren bed during the winter months and keep the squirrels at bay.
Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, it is a great time to prune your deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. During this dormant time, it is easy to identify the natural form of the tree or shrub and prune accordingly. Pruning during the winter season helps the tree or shrub conserve its energy for the roots where it is well needed for survival.
Many people think since there is snow on the ground that their plants are getting water. This is not true. With the ground frozen and lack of percolation and absorption, your plants struggle to survive during the winter. To protect your evergreen trees and shrubs from transpiration (losing moisture through the leaves), use an anti-desiccant (anti-transpirant) spray on the evergreen foliage. This helps retain much needed water in the plant during the cold dry winter.
Finally, as the snow starts to fall, keep an eye out on evergreen trees and shrubs, the weight of the snow can snap the branches off. After a large snow fall, knock the snow off the branches starting with the lower ones first. If you start with the upper branches first, you add more weight to the lower ones and this may cause them to break off.
There are many other methods to protecting your valuable landscape plantings during the winter months. Let Goldberg and Rodler’s team of professionals devise a plan that works best for your property to keep your landscape healthy. Call us now and plan ahead.
Written by Rich Lambert