Mike’s Top Ten Winter Landscape Tips
1. Lawn Renovation– Winter is an excellent time to do lawn renovation. From filling holes or just leveling areas, dirt work can and is of often done in early winter. You’ll have to remember that seeding this time of the year is considered as dormant seeding and you will not see germination until the soil temperatures warm up in the spring. Be sure to cover the seed to protect from animals but rest assures that the freeze thaw will help seat the seed for the following spring.
2. Pick Up Your Leaves– Often in the winter months I see where people have left rows or piles of leaves in their lawn. Doing so will cause areas of your lawn to either get a fungus disease or most likely kill the lawn in these areas. Preventing these dead spots for next year will help in weed reduction.
3. Mow Your Lawn- Be sure your lawn is mowed at the proper height going into winter. If your grass is too tall it will mat over in the winter causing fungus and disease problems to kill these areas. Also, a short lawn can make your yard more susceptible to winter kill. The best height to keep your lawn at all year is 3 inches.
4. Crab Grass Prevention– Another thing to remember is that your lawn has millions of crabgrass seeds in it ready to germinate next spring. Therefore, you want to be sure to apply crabgrass preventer on your lawn before April 15th of 2012. Although not typical, some crabgrass preventers have a very long life in the soil and some can be applied now for the following spring. Be sure NOT to apply this preventer in any area that you have dormant seeded or it will not come up next spring.
5. Pruning- December is a great time to catch up on some pruning but be sure the day time temperature is not below 32 degrees. Trees and roses can be trimmed and thinned now since it will help with next year’s production. Also, thin fruit trees so they are not overloaded during next year’s fruiting process. Here are some trimming techniques to follow:
- Clean from the inside out, removing crossed branches.
- Thin branches so they do not become too heavy with next year’s fruit. Pick quality branches to keep.
- Do not simply sheer branches of trees or shrubs.
6. Insecticides- Dormant oil is a great insecticide to use during dormant periods. Containing no chemicals, this is an effective use of natural ingredients against insects. Apply at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and after your winter trimming.
7. Flower Beds- Winter is a great time to clean up flower beds from the summers old flowers. This cleaning of leaves and dead plants will help with next year’s crop. This will highly reduce your risk for fungus and disease.
8. Planting- Winter is a great time to plant bare root material as well as rooted material. Often not understood from many, planting this time of the year greatly reduces the amount of watering needed done by the homeowner. Bare root plants are far less expensive and easy to acclimate in the winter. Typically, if you can dig a hole in the soil go ahead and plant.
9. Have some indoor plants- Many people miss having flowers and green plants in the winter and need some way of remembering what the summer months were like. Indoor plants are a great way to battle cabin fever and they often put smiles on your faces. House plants are great for your indoor environment and even better for your winter mood.
10. Contact a professional landscape contractor- It’s always important to contact Countryside Landscape in the winter before our busy season begins. Now is the time to begin landscape designs for next year and a great time to schedule next year’s lawn program. The earlier the better for planning for next spring’s projects.