Winter is a challenging season to maintain a beautiful landscape. Ice, snow, salt and grime can make it challenging to keep your property looking attractive, even for the most diligent of us. Here are some Winter Landscaping tips to keep your landscape looking good and set yourself up for success when Spring arrives.
1. Know your zone. Starting with hearty plants that survive the Winter months makes for an easier time to keep up your landscape. The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes a climate map that can help you to select which plants are best for Winter landscaping within your zone. Kitsap County is considered "Zone 8". Plants like Birds of Paradise, bottlebrush, butterfly bush and hibiscus are wonderful considerations for a beautiful landscape.
2. Continue to water. Don't neglect watering grass and shrubs. When then weather gets cold, we often stop watering landscape features--but the need for water does not go away. much like us humans, plants continually need water. Failure to keep your fruit trees, lawns, and hedges hydrated over the winter can result in a host of issues, including, increased susceptibility to disease. If the temperature is below 40 degrees, however, you're off the hook for a day or two.
3. Keep raking. Everybody rakes in the fall, but it's a good idea to keep on raking lawns and gardens over the winter as well. Plant debris continues to build up, and when it mixes with snow the environment is conducive to mold and fungus, particularly where leaves have accumulated. Cover those thin-barked trees. Put a light -colored wrapping around younger trees with thin bark in sunny areas. This helps to control frost and prevent sun scald. We are happy to discuss a lawn maintenance strategy with you at any time
4. Fertilize your lawn. Ideally, you'll want to use a fertilizer rich in phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Put it in the ground prior to the first freeze. This will help your lawn to grow rich and green in the spring, maximizing curb appeal and minimizing work later on. Protect your lawn against road salt. Cover evergreen shrubs and small trees near high traffic areas. Don't over apply road salt near tree roots unless it's necessary to eliminate safety hazards.
5. Mulch garden and tree beds. Mulch is an excellent insulator and can help you to protect roots against frost. If you have the storage space, the leaves you raked up in the fall will be perfect to use as mulch by the winter--and they're completely organic (and free!).
6. Keep your grass short. Cut your grass extra short as you head into winter--between 1 and 2 inches shorter than usual. This reduces frostbite risk and snow mold, and can also prevent mice from digging nests in the grass as cold weather approaches.
7. Winterize your sprinkler systems. This is nearly common sense, but every year, hundreds of property owners and landlords get stung by bursting pipes when freezing weather expands the water inside. Make sure your outdoor sprinkler systems are winterized by forcing compressed air through the system to push out any water that's accumulated, If you haven't already done so, be sure to reserve the next day when the temperatures are above freezing to get this done, ASAP.
8. Add pots. Closely-trimmed boxwood trees in large pots can bring a hint of fresh greenery to walkways and entryways all year long in most climates. Many succulents also fair well in winter months.
9. Utilize bark and berries. Trees with highly textured bark, such as birch and dogwood, are great for winter landscaping, whether planted or used for decor. Crabapple trees look great too, because they retain their fruit even in cold weather. Holly, of course, is a beautiful winter plant, but be careful around the little ones and pets. Holly berries are very toxic, as few as 20 berries can be lethal to a child.
10. Utilize winter-blooming flowers, like this ornamental winter kale. Which flowers you should choose for your winter landscaping depends on your latitude (and a little bit of attitude). A great resource is the U.S. Department of Agriculture for great ideas on what winter-blooming flowers work best for your climate. Here is the Pacific Northwest enjoy ornamental kale, helleborne, heather, pansies, which hazel or winterbloom to name just a few. We are fortunate to live in such a mild climate that these beautiful flowers can bloom with color all throughout the winter.
11. Pruning. Especially during this stormy season, you want to make sure your trees, plants and shrubs are cut back for health of your plants and safety of your property.
12. Use lighting. There are so many options nowadays from hard wired into your home power, battery operated to solar powered. Outdoor lighting can look especially beautiful in winter, even past the holiday season. Consider subtle tones to bring warmth to winter landscaping, or try lighting up walkways and driveways with attractive ground lanterns.
Here at Classic Grounds Care, we also consult on landscape design. An outdoor lighting system can be part of your initial design or added on later. Call today to schedule your free consultation. 360-698-1292