Prepping your landscape for the winter months will help mitigate damage from freezing conditions, icy winds and sudden melt-offs. Viewing your landscape holistically will help you determine the best methods you can use to prevent damage. Here are five tips that will help.
Pay Attention to Slopes
Not every landscape has them, but most do. This includes seemingly insignificant slopes. Even a minor grade can lead to water pooling and compaction. Probably the biggest problem during the winter months is soil erosion. You may notice that when snow melts, soil is pushed downhill. Not only does this cause problems with soil fertility but it can also obstruct pathways. Landscapers recommend planting cover crops on slopes to reduce soil erosion. If this isn’t an option, a retaining wall or even a temporary snow fence can help keep soil where you want it. Another tip to consider is the placement of pathways. You will want your pathway to run parallel to the slope so that it doesn’t act as a convenient slide for melting ice.
Keep Drainage Areas Clear
Ice, soil and winter debris can clog drainage areas. This can lead to pooling and flooding when the weather warms up. It can also prevent air circulation between plants and shrubs. If you have standing drains in your landscape, then consider covering them with a screen or guard. You can also place flags or other markers to remind you not to pile snow in the area. After storms, inspect those areas for blockage and again when the snow starts to melt.
Trees, shrubs, cacti and even evergreens are damaged by icy winds or erratic gusts. Wrap your large landscape features in cloth to prevent wind damage. Ensure that there is some air circulation between the branches.
Be Hospitable, But Not Too Much
Squirrels, birds and other small creatures can get a bit too comfortable in well-sheltered landscapes. To prevent damage, clear the area of nuts, berries and other food sources. If you choose to feed birds or other creatures throughout the winter, keep the area clear between feedings.
Watch For Wind
Not every region experiences snow and ice, but winter is known for shifting weather patterns. In the Southwest United States, during the winter months, high winds, rain and short freezes can do serious damage to xeriscape landscapes. To care for these areas, landscapers recommend watering plants thoroughly before winter. After watering, shield plants with drop clothes or other textiles. Plastic can trap sunlight and burn leaves.
After taking care of your landscape in the late fall, you are free to enjoy a lush spring and a care-free winter.