Winter Services: Protection and Prevention
Are you ready to say goodbye to 2013? Is your landscape ready for 2014? While everyone is busy preparing for the holidays, we’re preparing for winter and spring. There’s still time to protect your plants, clean out your gutters and schedule winter pruning.
PROTECTION: We’re reiterating the important message in our previous article about protecting your plants for the harsh weather we expect during the winter. An anti-desiccant application can reduce water loss through the leaves during a time when your plants can’t take in water from the frozen ground. You can reapply mid-winter for additional protection.
Road salt can damage your plants from piled up snow, as well as salt spray from the ocean/sound if you’re near the water. Anti-transpirant is one option for reducing the potential for burned foliage. Heavily irrigating the soil in the spring helps wash away the accumulated salt in the soil. Fertilizing with an organic, salt-free fertilizer will promote new leaf growth and proper pruning can ensure the integrity of the plant’s structure.
PREVENTION: During a heavy snowfall, if the gutters aren’t cleared of snow and debris, ice dams can form on the top above the gutters and water may back up under the flashing behind the gutters. This can cause leaks, and if not treated, mold growth . It is very important to make sure these are clear after a storm if the snow doesn’t melt away. Leaves and debris will further aggravate the issue by not allowing proper drainage into the gutters as the snow melts.
WINTER PRUNING: This is better for deciduous shrubs, evergreen hedges and small ornamental trees. The best time for this service is between Thanksgiving and Saint Patrick’s Day.
Removing dead wood and crossing branches helps open plants up to allow light and air to penetrate into the plant while removing potential host sites for insects. Selective hand pruning will help plants keep their natural, intended form. Winter pruning of your ornamental landscape plants will increase the health and vigor of the plants by stimulating new growth, while keeping the size of the plants in check so your landscape can last many years.
Winter pruning has many other benefits. With no leaves on the deciduous plant material, the structure and potential shape can be clearly defined. Plants heal more quickly in the winter so there is less trauma and almost no potential for harboring insects and disease in the fresh cuts.
Protect your investment in the garden by having one of our professional horticulturalists come by and provide a complimentary winter pruning consultation and estimate. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Written by Sal Masullo and Ashley Palko