Seasonal Planning

Winter is Coming

Seven tips for preparing your yard

WHILE GEORGIANS are fortunate to have warmer winters than about half the country, those months aren’t exactly tropical. Landscapes need some love to prepare for the cold season.

The Plants Creative maintenance crew has these top tips for winterizing a landscape, whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional for help.

  • Water everything before winter arrives in force. The best way to protect shrubs, small trees, sod and seasonal flowers from cold weather damage is to water them before the frost. Water insulates root systems and helps prevent cold weather damage. This is especially important for newer, less established plantings.
  • Shut down your irrigation system.
    December, January and February are the months where it gets cold enough to ruin your irrigation system. It can be protected through winterizing by turning off your water supply valve, running your system through its cycles and blowing out the pipes to completely empty them.
  • Look after your lawn. Before it gets really chilly, make sure you rake up all the leaves and remove any debris which can smother grass and stunt its growth when spring rolls around. It’s also a good idea to overseed and aerate your turf in the fall.
  • Mulch your gardens. Adding an inch or two of shredded bark mulch or pine straw around trees, shrubs and other perennial plants will give them extra protection for the winter. Mulch insulates the soil, keeping the roots warm and moist when it freezes. Plus, it stops erosion from happening and prevents weeds from growing.
  • Divide your perennials. This will prevent your beds from getting overcrowded. It’s more simple than it sounds. All you need to do is gently dig up the plant and lightly pull apart the roots with your hands, or cut them carefully with a sharp spade or knife. Then, replant them elsewhere. Time your dividing and transplanting for four to six weeks before the ground freezes. It’s a good idea to dig up any delicate bulbs that might die over the winter and store them indoors to be replanted in the springtime.
  • Plant some winter annuals. If you’d like your garden to stay green, there are a range of annuals you can grow throughout the winter. Pansies are a favorite. Plant them in October or November so they can get established and watch them bloom. Other great winter plants include ornamentals like kale, mustard and chard, as well as winter vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Prune your trees & shrubs. In late January and February, prune your trees and shrubs. The dead of winter is the best time to do this, as the plants are dormant and no sap is flowing yet.

For more information or a free downloadable guide, go to plantscreative.com.

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