Any Kansas City native will confirm that we face harsh conditions during winter months. Many people avoid the winter chill by taking refuge in their homes with a nice warm fire blazing. But you can’t just uproot your plants to protect them from damaging winter winds and temperatures.
You might worry that it’s too late to help your plants when cold weather sets in. While it’s true that watering and pruning in the fall increases your plants’ health in winter, there’s still plenty of winter landscaping maintenance you can do. You invest time and money in your landscaping, so you shouldn’t let winter get the best of your beautiful gardens and flower beds. Here are some winter landscaping maintenance tips to keep your yard looking great this season!
Winter Landscaping Maintenance
Saving Shrubs From Snow & Ice Damage
Kansas City is no stranger to damaging snow and ice storms, and it’s not just our roofs that we need to worry about during these storms. Your winter landscaping maintenance should also include building shelters for your more delicate shrubs to keep their branches from snapping. Essentially, since you can’t bring your plants inside, you should build them a home. You can go a natural route and build a shelter with a flat pine bough roof, or you can build an A-frame and use canvas to cover your frame. There are even pre-made snow frames available at hardware stores. Whatever route you take, be sure to complete this winter landscaping maintenance to help your plants survive in the snow and ice!
Keep Your Evergreens Healthy
Even though evergreen shrubs maintain their look during winter, they can still be damaged in harsh conditions; thus, they should be part of your winter landscaping maintenance as well. To maintain your evergreens in winter, purchase tree wraps from your hardware store or local nursery. Composed of burlap netting, these winter tree wraps can be used to bind your evergreen, pulling the limbs into the trunk for support. This helps them better cope with heavy ice or snow, preventing snapped limbs.
Winter landscaping maintenance also includes helping evergreens battle blustery winds. In addition to helping with ice and snow, tree wraps can also be used to combat the drying effect of winter winds. You can wrap the trees as described above to protect them from winds. You can also create a windbreak as part of your winter landscaping maintenance: just build a burlap-wrapped chicken wire cage around your evergreen to protect it from moisture loss and winter burn. A bonus: all your tree wraps and shrub shelters will also protect your plants from damaging road salts blown in the wind and from hungry pests searching for a winter meal.
Though your perennial flowers won’t blossom in winter, your winter landscaping maintenance should include them so that their colors will still appear in spring. Applying organic landscaping mulches should be part of your winter landscaping maintenance to-do list, as the mulches will insulate your perennial flower beds and eventually provide nutrients when they decompose. There are several types of organic mulches great for use in winter landscaping maintenance, including:
This long-lasting mulch is great for winter landscaping maintenance. In addition to providing insulation to your plants, it will also discourage insects. This benefit can be a drawback, however, as some of the insects it repels might actually help the plants. It is also slow to break down, meaning it won’t supply your perennials with as many nutrients as another material might.
If you choose to use cedar mulch in your winter landscaping maintenance, you should apply 3-4 inches of cedar mulch on your perennials 2-3 days after sustained freezing temperatures. Avoid early application, as rodents may try to nest under your cedar mulch. When the spring thaw sets in, start slowly pulling back your mulch.
Straw’s coarse texture makes it ideal as a mulch in your winter landscaping maintenance. It effectively traps air to prevent moisture evaporation and insulate your plants. Straw also protects the soil from temperature changes, keeping your bulbs safe from the extremes, and lessens weed growth. One caution against using it in your winter landscaping maintenance: be sure that the straw you purchase doesn’t contain harmful chemicals you don’t want in your flower beds.
To use straw in your winter landscaping maintenance, apply a 4-5 inch layer after the first three days of consecutive freezing temperatures. Once temperatures begin to consistently rise in the spring, you can remove the straw or simply let it break down and feed the soil.
Pine needles are good for winter landscaping maintenance because they protect acid-loving plants, including shrubs and flowers. They excel at retaining moisture, plus they are lightweight — and if you have an evergreen pine, you have free, easy access to this mulching material! Plus what says winter more than the fragrance of pine needles? One drawback: they are slow to decompose.
To use pine needles in your winter landscaping maintenance, once the winter chill has set in for at least 3 days, apply a 4-5 inch thick layer of pine needles on your flower beds. Remove them in spring once temperatures are on the upswing.
Need More Help With Winter Landscaping Maintenance?
For more winter landscaping maintenance tips or to receive help with your landscaping in Kansas City, contact Prestige One Landscaping at (816) 226-6337.