McCarty Mulch & Stone on winter landscape tips for your garden.
Aim for Spick and Span
It’s time for some elbow grease while the weather is still mild enough for toil. First, you need to rake leaves. Raking and cleaning up fallen branches prevents dead spots and uneven grass growth and reduces the possibility of overwintering diseases.
Some insects are necessary for your garden’s ecosystem, so be sure to retain leaves underneath shrubs. What you don’t want to do, however, is create a massive mound of leaves that could harbor rodents. Add leaf piles to your garden waste or shred them with your lawnmower and chuck them in your compost heap.
During early November, about a month and a half before your garden freezes over, you can start planting spring-flowering bulbs. A 3-inch layer of mulch will help insulate and moderate the soil’s temperature. The mulch prevents small bulbs from being pushed out of the ground due to frost heave.
You don’t have to ‘put your veggie garden to bed‘. With the help of mulch, you can harvest delicious root vegetables well into snowy winter. You can also plant winter crops as early as August, and resilient ones like garlic can come into play later in the season.
Try and tie the stems of shrubs like juniper together. This simple action shores up their defenses against snow loads. When it does snow, you can gently brush off the precipitation.
Keep watering your plants until the ground ices up, especially if your region doesn’t get much rain during fall.
Attract Feathered Friends
You want to hear those twitters and those chirps. But it’s not just the birdsong and pops of plumed color that add a lovely element to your yard’s aesthetic. Birds can find pests hibernating in stems and branches and rid your garden of them.
Plant trees or shrubs that produce berries to attract avian visitors. Birds will be happy with the food source, and the berries on holly or crabapples infuse welcome color into subdued winter palettes.
Install a tasteful bird feeder with a seed type suitable for the birds that usually drop by. A heated birdbath provides much-needed water in icy weather. Soothing, gurgling water features can also benefit from a heater.
Care for Your Lawn
Unlike in the south, where cool-weather grass seed can keep the turf green, you’ll want your lawn to absorb as many nutrients as it can before it goes dormant during winter.
- Do some weeding in autumn.
- Check acidity levels with a pH kit.
- You may want to aerate your lawn if summer foot traffic has compacted it. This loosening of the soil and airing of grassroots improves the uptake of nutrients.
- Apply winterizer, a type of lawn food with more phosphorous and potassium, and less nitrogen. It fortifies roots when it’s cold. Don’t be too generous here. Excessive fertilizer can burn the grass.
- Mow the lawn to a height that is neither too long nor too short. The former could mean winter-damaged grass, and the latter can lead to overexposure of the plant’s crown.
- Water the lawn.
Wrap the trunks of young trees towards the end of November to prevent the bark from splitting. Don’t forget to take it off when winter draws to a close.
You may also want to put up wire fencing or apply a deer repellant so the local fauna doesn’t damage your trees and plants more than you’d like.
Cover flower beds or landscape plants with burlap or polyethylene plastic screens. This protection can be beneficial for plants facing south and southwest. For example, your plants won’t become overly dry because of harsh winds and the winter sun.
Bring some of your plants, such as not-so-hardy herbs, indoors. Carefully remove them from the soil and put them in pots, and you should be able to preserve them.
Start Planning for Christmas
Christmas trees can turn your home’s exterior into a frozen wonderland with bursts of green and snow-dusted foliage. In fall, you can dig holes in preparation for the holidays. Put some of the leaves you raked up into the holes and cover them with protective material. Be on the lookout for green needles, flexible but firm, when you go tree shopping in December.
Set the Scene with Decorative Elements
Deciduous trees such as birch can look beautiful when their leaves fall off. With bark that adds color and texture, these undressed trees are architectural and exclusive to this particular time of year. The bare branches of burr oaks, for example, can look sculptural, as can their shadows.
Perennial ornamental grasses create levels and depth throughout winter so make an effort to incorporate them.
Remember, also, that color can come from various evergreens. Some evergreens can furnish your garden with hints of yellow and blue. Big trees also enhance privacy in your outdoor space.
Benches, pergolas, and sculptures can do a lot of the hard work in terms of visual appeal. In places where winter casts a white blanket over the landscape, a trellis or an arbor is striking and draws the eye.