Whether you have just a few plants on the patio, or a fully landscaped backyard, preparing your trees, shrubs, and gardens for winter is essential to keep them healthy and thriving.
Young trees, regardless of type or size, need a little extra TLC in the Fall. You should wrap your tree trunks to avoid frost cracking, a condition in which sun-warmed sap under the bark can freeze overnight and cause tree bark to split. A paper or perforated mesh wrap can be used around the base of the tree to insulate the bark and prevent the tree from cracking.
While insects aren’t typically a problem in the winter, it’s not uncommon for animals like rabbits and squirrels to nibble on green foliage, and the damage to your landscaping can be extensive if left unchecked. To discourage animals from wreaking havoc on your shrubs and bushes, you can surround your plants with wire mesh screens or use scented spray deterrents.
We don’t live in Arizona, and your garden isn’t full of drought-resistant cactus plants. Here in Kansas City, your plants and trees need to be watered in the winter or they won’t make it! You should water until the ground freezes, even if your plants start to go dormant. Watering is especially important if there’s been a dry Fall season and a mild winter without much precipitation.
Mulching is a great way to winter-proof landscaping. It acts as an insulating agent to guard roots against frigid temperatures by keeping the soil at a more consistent temperature. One note of caution though: it’s important not to pile up mulch around tree trunks, as it can cause the bark to rot. Keep your mulch 1-2” away from woody stems and tree trunks.
Leaf Cleanup: Homeowners in Prairie Village, Fairway, Brookside and other established communities across the metro get to enjoy some beautiful Fall foliage every year, but with it comes a lot of leaf cleanup at the end of the season. These older neighborhoods are filled with pin oaks and maples that drop millions of leaves in October and November. It’s important to bag as many as possible to keep them from smothering the lawn.
Garden Maintenance: Once the growing season has ended, remove old annuals and prune perennials. Blow leaves out of garden beds and off the patio. This will help prevent and pests from wintering in your garden debris.
The Fall is a great time to remove any invasive weeds that may have sprouted up in the summer months. Completely removing weeds is the only way to prevent them from sprouting up again in the spring, so be thorough!
And if you have a vegetable or herb garden, you might consider covering your beds with a layer of compost to help enrich the soil for next year. That, along with a cover of plastic or cardboard, will kill any existing weeds and subdue any newly sprouting seeds.
Preparing Perennials for Winter: Be sure to water your perennial plants and shrubs in the Fall once the temperatures start dropping. They will need the moisture over the winter months, especially once they’ve been pruned back for the season. It’s important to cut back perennials (leaving about 3” of stem) and mulch the beds to keep soil temperatures consistent through the winter.
These are just a few suggestions to winter-proof landscaping and keep it in tip-top shape, but we’re certainly happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us anytime for more information about various plants and trees, landscaping care, or how we can help you create the perfect landscape for your home.