From November to December, we’re reminded pretty much everywhere we look that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Winter brings holidays, time with loved ones, and an opportunity to focus on everything we’re grateful for. It’s also the time of year when you need to start preparing your landscape to withstand colder temps.
8 Steps to Prepare Your Landscape for Winter
With colder temperatures upon us, the holidays are a good time to get back outside and prepare your lawn and landscape for the upcoming new year. Not sure how to start? Don’t sweat it! Check out our top eight tips for winterizing your landscape below.
- Aerate — Worried about your lawn lasting through the winter? Aeration is key to helping it grow back healthy and lush. Aeration is basically a fancy way of saying: Give your lawn some room to breathe! As winter creeps in, it’s important to aerate your lawn or turf by breaking up tightly packed soil so that proper nutrients and hydration get down to plants’ roots. We recommend aerating your landscape at the same time as you begin your winter fertilization process.
- Fertilize — Speaking of fertilization … don’t skip this important step in winterizing your landscape! Fertilizing your lawn in mid- to late-fall will result in a healthier and more long-lasting turf when warm weather returns. Think of it this way: By fertilizing now, you may save yourself more time and money on fertilization later.
- Rake — This one might seem obvious, but it’s a step many people forget or simply don’t think is important. Raking up fallen leaves helps ensure proper hydration can reach your grass, soil and plants’ roots during the winter. The more leaves that cover your landscaping, the less likely it is that water and nutrients will find their way beneath the surface of the leaves where they’re needed most.
- Weed — Weeds also get in the way of nature’s winter rejuvenation process. Unwanted weeds don’t just pop up in the spring and summer months, and letting them stick around all winter is sure to result in a headache come spring. Before you lock up the shed for the season, be sure to tend to cracks, corners and other forgotten areas of your landscape where weeds tend to sprout. After spraying and/or pulling them from the root, double check that those pesky weeds are indeed dead, so that you don’t have to deal with them again next season.
- Prune — Pruning is one of the most important steps in ensuring your lush landscape and fresh foliage grows back as intended after winter wraps. As a general rule of thumb, prune back perennials and remove annuals altogether. Pruning trees in the winter is ideal while they are dormant but be sure to call on a professional if you need help.
- Mulch — Protecting trees, shrubs, and your most-prized plants is as easy as laying down mulch or pine straw before the first snowfall. Mulch acts as a barrier to keep plants and their roots warm as temperatures drop, helping them retain much-needed moisture. Typically, we recommend about two inches of mulch to avoid erosion, water loss, and excessive weed growth on your landscape.
- Prep — Once you’ve checked off boxes 1–6, all that’s left is to prepare for snow. Even if snow is rare in your neck of the woods, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And since there’s no way to know what Jack Frost has up his sleeve, we recommend trying out this tip: Wrap wire mesh (also called hardware cloth) around the base of young trees and shrubs to keep animals and ice at bay.
- Winterize — Last, but not least, it’s time to winterize your irrigation system. We’ve talked about the importance of irrigation for landscaping before, and now is the time to put your plan into motion. First, shut off your water. Then, completely empty any and all drains in your irrigation system so that water doesn’t freeze inside. We suggest using an air compressor to blow out all of the water in your irrigation lines and you may want to hire a professional like Malone’s Landscape to do it for you. Make sure your controller is turned off and your double check valve is drained and prepped for winter. Finally, insulate any above-ground components so they’ll start back up with ease in the spring. If you have questions, a trained professional can help.
Prep Like a Pro
Speaking of professionals… with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to prepping your landscape for winter just like a pro! Even though the view changes a little come winter, you can enjoy your landscape design all year round when you take care of it. And if you need a little help, just call on the team at Malone’s Landscape. We’re here to help!