How to Protect Your Landscaping in the Winter

November 24, 2020

The landscaping around your home contributes to the overall look and feel of the exterior and also to curb appeal. But, keeping your landscaping looking great requires maintenance, especially during harsh weather. The winter season brings snow, ice, wind, salt, and more that can damage your landscaping. Here’s how to protect your landscaping in the winter:

1. Drain and Store Pipes and Hoses

One of the most important elements of a healthy lawn is the water and fertilizer it is given in the warmer months. But, during the winter, those water-providing features can become a risk. Pipes can freeze and then burst, which can cause a lot of damage to your home and to your landscaping.

There are a number of things you can do to help protect your landscaping and prevent the outdoor pipes and hoses of your home from freezing and bursting. Disconnect and drain the garden hose and store it in a dry place. If you have an irrigation system, wrap the pipes with pipe insulation.

Turn off outdoor water valves from the main shut-off valve and drain any water fountains or other outdoor water features. Not only can this help protect your home from water damage in the winter, but it can also help you protect your landscaping in the winter as well.

2. Protect Perennials With Mulch

The most effective way to protect perennials is with a 2-4 inch layer of mulch or other organic matter. You can buy mulch specifically for this or you can use newspapers or leaves. If you need to do another round of raking to clean up your yard, leaves are a great option.

When you rake the leaves for the last time as fall turns to winter, loosely pile them around the bases of the perennials. The leaves will provide warmth for the plant roots. And, as the leaves begin to decay, they will provide the nourishment perennials need throughout the winter.

Whether you use leaves, newspapers, mulch, or other organic matter, make sure you leave about a half-inch of space between it and the base of your plants. You want to insulate your plants, but you also want to prevent rot.

3. Cover Young Trees and Shrubs

If you planted any new trees during the spring, they should be covered during the winter. Hedges and shrubs should also be loosely wrapped, but you don’t want to cover the tops of them.

You can use burlap to wrap and cover your plants. You can also purchase a garden blanket or a plant cover that is specifically manufactured for the purpose of winterizing your landscaping. In addition, you can build or buy a small snow fence to add some extra protection from wind and piling snow.

Keep in mind that mature trees need to be pruned during the late winter when they are the most dormant. Then, they will need to be pruned again in mid-February. Fruit trees tend to be highly fruit-bearing if they are fertilized in late winter. So, take account of the types of trees you have to prune and fertilize them accordingly.

4. Bring Potted Plants Indoors

If you have a covered patio or porch, you can often move your potted plants there to be close to your home. The warmth emanating from your home can be enough to insulate your hanging plants, containers, and pots. If you’re concerned that won’t be enough, then plan to bring all of your potted plants indoors during the winter to prevent them from freezing.

If you notice that a plant has been damaged by frost or a winter freeze, leave the plant in its current container until the spring when there is new growth. If you attempt to transplant or prune a plant during the winter, it can prevent it from having new growth or kill it.

If you start to get a little antsy for the spring weather, February is typically a mild enough month to begin planting cool-season annuals and early bloomers, such as pansies and petunias. Remember to add mulch around the new plantings so they will get the necessary insulation and nutrients. Also, be prepared to cover them if temperatures suddenly drop or harsh weather rolls in.

5. Keep Watering to When Temperatures Are Above Freezing

It may be tempting to water your plants whenever you feel they need it during winter. Although indoor plants will be fine, you need to plan watering more carefully during the winter for your outdoor plants.

Generally, you want to avoid watering your plants when temperatures are below freezing. If you can’t wait for temperatures to rise above freezing, water plants early as the day warms up so they have plenty of time to dry before night falls and temperatures drop again.

If you know snow, ice, or a big frost are coming, try to water your plants thoroughly several days beforehand. Also, check your insulation to make sure it is sufficient. This helps make sure your plants have what they need to face the oncoming frost, snow, or ice.

6. Clear Snow Away From Your Plants

Another way to protect your landscaping in the winter is to clear snow away from your plants. Snow and ice are heavy. Not only do they mess up your insulation efforts, but the excess weight can also do a lot of damage to your plants. As you are clearing your deck, porch, walkways, etc. after a snowfall, make sure you spend some time clearing the snow off of your plants and away from them.

Also, be mindful of where you are piling snow as you are clearing it, especially if it is likely to contain rock salt or other deicer chemicals. These can damage your landscaping over time if it’s concentrated in one place. So, try to spread it out instead of making the same pile in the same spot every time you clear snow.

7. Build a Greenhouse

If you’ve been wanting to build something cool in your backyard for a while and you’re a fan of gardening, consider building a greenhouse. Big or small and with plenty of custom options, you can find a greenhouse for the space you have available and for your gardening needs.

You can also go with a custom shed. Turning one of these outbuildings into a greenhouse is one of the many ways to use a shed and can be a great way to protect your plants in the winter. You can even turn it into a multipurpose space with room for your plants and for other things too.

These are just a few tips to help protect your landscaping in the winter. If your house just doesn’t seem like home, no matter how much landscaping or remodeling you do, it may be time to consider a custom home that is designed and built to your needs. If you’re ready to start bringing your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!