Ten Tips for Protecting Your Landscape Over the Winter
Branches and trees toppled by snow and ice, foliage destroyed by extreme temperatures and hungry wildlife, plantings killed by salt and deicing agents are just a few of the issues facing homeowners and property managers when Spring arrives and the snow thaws out. While it’s hard to completely “winterproof” your landscape, there are steps that you can take to minimize damage and get a jump on the spring. We reached out to our tree, shrub and lawn experts here at SavATree who provided these 10 helpful tips for protecting your landscape through the fall and winter months.
- Tip #1: Deep Root FertilizeThis fall, consider a deep root fertilization program for your landscape trees and shrubs. Using a grid pattern, a series of pressurized injections are made 8″ to 12″ deep, delivering a customized, nutrient-rich blend to the root system. In addition to the delivery of nutrients, this program will reduce soil compaction and allow for oxygen to reach the root system, improving the overall health of your trees and shrubs.
- Tip #2: Fertilize Your LawnIdeally, you should fertilize your lawn at least twice between September and November. When top growth ends, use an all mineral fertilizer that will supply your lawn with nutrients it needs for the winter months.
- Tip #3: Lock in Moisture with AntidesiccantsWhen extreme cold weather sets in and the ground freezes, broadleaved evergreen plants struggle to gather the moisture they need. In order to survive, they have to tap into their stored moisture, leaving them depleted and more susceptible to damage from the elements. One way to prevent this is through the use of natural polymer antidesiccants that create a thin layer of protection over the leaf’s pores, locking in moisture. Young and newly transplanted trees will also benefit from this treatment.
- Tip #4: Prepare Your Trees for Wind, Snow & Ice High winds blowing against limbs that are already compromised due to heavy ice and snow create a dangerous situation. Professional pruning, cabling and bracing will minimize the risk of storm-related damage and preserve the beauty and form of your trees.
- Tip #5: Use Mulch to Regulate Soil Temperatures In cases of both extreme heat and extreme cold, fibrous root tissue can be damaged or killed without proper protection from the elements. Use a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to insulate the soil and regulate sudden changes in temperature.
- Tip #6: Move Plantings out of Harm’s Way Salts and deicers wreak havoc on plantings. To prevent injured roots and damaged foliage, avoid planting in areas that see a high volume of salt spray or runoff. If you have existing plantings that can’t be moved,try to avoid pushing snow that is contaminated with salt into their root zones..
- Tip #7: Prevent Damage from Hungry Animals When the temperatures drop and snow hits the ground, animals have limited options for food sources and begin snacking on plants and foliage. To protect trees from mice and rabbits, place a cylinder of one half inch mesh cloth around the trunk of your trees. For deer, treat plants and small trees with a repellant or try the DeerTech (www.deertechusa.com) approach which uses a combination of ultrasonic frequencies, treatments and switching to keep deer away from your plants..
- Tip #8: Reduce Soil Compaction by Spreading out the SnowHeavy piles of snow on your lawn can lead to compaction which prevents your soil from absorbing the air, water and nutrients that it needs. Try to avoid piling too much snow in one spot when shoveling and using a blower. The more you can spread the snow out, the better your lawn will be.
- Tip #9: Deal with Debris ASAP Remove branches and other debris from your lawn as soon as possible. They can be potentially hazardous to anyone enjoying the winter lawn, especially if they get covered with a new blanket of snow. They will also break up into smaller pieces over time, which presents a hazard during mowing in the spring.
- Tip #10: Contact a Professional Once the snow has cleared, contact a professional to examine your trees, lawn and plantings to check for damage and, if necessary, put together a plan to bring your landscape back to life.