The cold winter months are almost upon us. They offer a nice break from mowing, pulling weeds and watering, but there are plenty of opportunities to get outside on those rare, warmer days of winter. We’ve compiled a list of landscaping to do’s this winter.
Winter is a great time of year to prune many of the trees and shrubs in the area. Horticultural specialist Chris Carter says, “When the tree is dormant, it’s a great time to correct flaws like crossed branches because you can see them without the leaves.”
Pruning deciduous trees and shrubs stimulates blooming and improves growth. In addition, there are many other benefits of pruning. Pruning helps to combat disease by ridding the shrub of old dead wood and allows you to control the shape and size of the plant. Carter adds, “You can make a 20 to 30-year-old shrub like a 2 to 3-year-old shrub with proper pruning.”
It’s important to understand when to prune certain trees and shrubs. The first flowering plants of the spring, like forsythia and lilacs flower on wood from the previous season, so if you prune them in the winter you are cutting off the buds. Junipers and other evergreens can be pruned at any time. Deciduous shrubs like spirea and shrub roses should be pruned later in the winter. If pruned too early they are more susceptible to winter-kill. Maple trees will bleed during the winter and can provide a site for disease, so it’s best to avoid pruning them in the winter.
Winterizing Your Irrigation System
In our area of the country, it is important to make sure that your irrigation system is prepared for the cold winter temperatures. Depending on the type of piping used in your irrigation system, when water freezes and expands, the system components can crack. Winterizing your system can be very easy if you know what you’re doing. Winterizing is the standard to prevent possible damage.
If you’re uncomfortable performing the irrigation winterization process alone, it is a good idea to hire a reputable company to do it for you.
Watering in the Winter Months
If we have a dry winter and it gets above freezing for a few days, it’s a great idea to water junipers and evergreens because they can dry out. You don’t have to worry about watering your tulip bulbs, but if we do have a stretch of warmer days without precipitation, it’s not a bad idea to water pansies that are still thriving. Also pay attention to developing plants.