Prune Your Trees and Shrubs
Now that your leaves are raked, your lawn is mowed and you’ve washed your hands of further maintenance in that area…it’s time to tackle your trees. Did you notice that with the leaves gone, it’s a lot easier to identify any structural problems like poorly formed limbs? If the trees are particularly young, it’s a good time to initiate pruning and reshape trees and shrubs. First, remove all dead and damaged branches. Next, selectively remove crowded branches and crossed branches. You’ll see the size and the shape of the tree will not only change, but you’ll extend the long-term health of your trees and shrubs.
Mow, Remove, Mulch
This may seen like a basic tip, but it’s extremely important to mow your grass prior to winter. (If you don’t, you’ll notice that long grass will likely rot on top of itself after a heavy snowfall). Then, remove leaves, twigs, and any other plant debris. Finally, put a light covering of mulch in flowerbeds to act as a blanket for the roots of your plants to help them survive the cold.
Don’t Forget Winter Foliage
We could create a pretty exhaustive list of ways to make your garden flourish in the winter. Consider evergreens like winterberry and holly, or small bulbs like crocus bulbs. The latter blooms come in a variety of colors sure to pop against a gloomy winter landscape. The best time to plant them is usually 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost and when soil temperature falls below 60 degrees.
Of course, gardening success always depends on local weather conditions. Our winter weather here in Maryland means an average high temperature in the low 40s from December until March, and average lows in the high 20s. The average annual snowfall is close to 21 inches.
With these tips and statistics in mind, you should have a leg up (or should we say boot?) on landscape maintenance and management for the coming season. For further assistance: