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12 Landscaping Tips for Winter

January 5, 2024

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Winter Landscaping Tips

Cold weather can cause a lot of issues for landlords.  

Ice, snow, salt, and freezing temperatures are just a few examples of things that can damage property and leave your space looking considerably less appealing.  

That’s why it’s important to set yourself up for success, especially in colder months.  

In this article, we’re going to cover 12 winter landscaping tips (that you, your tenants, or professionals can take of) to help you protect your property in the winter and prepare for better weather.  

Tip #1: Research Plant Zones  

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a great way to determine which perennial plants will probably thrive in a specific location. That said, it’s important not to take it as gospel. Whether plants will thrive depends on a myriad of factors. This is just one way to gain a better understanding of plants that have higher odds of which plants will do well in cold weather.  

Tip #2: Keep Watering Plants  

Throughout winter, it’s vital to water your plants. Plants still need moisture even in cold months, and this is especially true for evergreen plants because they lose a lot of water through their leaves. Dry winter winds and changing temperatures trigger dehydration in plants, so ensure you keep your plants healthy by watering them regularly.  

Tip #3: Keep Raking the Lawn  

You always want to prevent the accumulation of plant debris and dead branches. This mess may facilitate mold and fungus growth, particularly when covered with snow. And snow mold isn’t something you want to deal with. Debris removal keeps your yard healthy and enhances the appearance of your winter landscape.  

Tip #4: Protect Thin Trees  

Winter can be hard on trees with thin bark. Wrap these trees with light-colored material to prevent frost and block sunscald. Sunscald, which is the freezing of bark following high temperatures in the winter season, leaves trees permanently damaged. Thus, prevention is the only way to protect these trees.  

Wrapping trees or setting up safeguards also protects these organisms from rodent damage. When it’s cold outside, mice and rabbits often gnaw on the bark of young trees (this is especially true when other food sources are scarce). Barriers like plastic tree guards are useful to stop this kind of problem from occurring.   

Tip #5: Fertilize the Lawn  

Another good winter landscaping idea is to fertilize the lawn. This practice is important for multiple reasons. First, roots keep developing even if grass isn’t actively growing in winter. Thus, grass still needs the vital nutrients that fertilizer can provide to grow and store energy. These nutrients make the grass more resilient to cold weather and other winter conditions that otherwise destroy plants.   

It’s important to note that fertilizer made for winter use is key. This type of fertilizer releases nutrients slowly, which supplies grass with the key nutrients over time (this slow release facilitates steady, healthy growth).   

Tip #6: Defend Against Road Salt  

Road salt? Yes, road salt. Road salt can damage plants because the chloride component of it is absorbed by roots and foliage and becomes concentrated in actively developing tissue. Burlap or plastic is the best way to protect against road salt. Wise landlords ensure the defense of their plants by rinsing the plants right when spring rolls around as well to remove any residue.   

Tip #7: Prune Trees and Shrubs 

Pruning trees during winter matters for several reasons. First, it helps to maintain the overall health and appearance of the trees. By removing dead or diseased branches, landlords and property owners prevent the spread of infections and improve the tree’s structural integrity. Additionally, winter is an ideal time to identify and address these issues, as the absence of leaves makes it easier to assess the tree’s condition and identify which branches require attention.  

That’s not all, though. Winter pruning also facilitates the growth of trees in the spring. By strategically pruning during the dormant season, landlords encourage the development of strong, healthy new growth when the trees become active again. This helps shape the tree, dictate its size, and enhance its overall form.   

That said, it’s important to note that not all trees should be pruned in winter, so it may be wise to seek guidance from a professional arborist to determine the most appropriate pruning schedule for specific tree species.  

Tip #8: Winterize Sprinkler Systems  

Winterizing the sprinkler system is essential to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. When water freezes, it expands, which can lead to burst pipes and costly repairs. To winterize the sprinkler system, the water supply to the system should be shut off, and the remaining water in the pipes should be drained to prevent freezing. This can be done by using compressed air to blow out the water from the system.  

Furthermore, sprinkler heads and valves should be checked for any signs of damage and repaired if necessary. By taking these steps to winterize the sprinkler system, landlords and property owners can protect their investment and ensure that the system functions properly when it’s time to use it again in the spring.  

Tip #9: Clean Gutters  

While this is another of the winter landscaping ideas that isn’t exclusive to the colder months, it’s particularly important in them. Cleaning gutters is a crucial task in winter to get in front of potential water damage and ice dams. Clogged gutters can lead to water backing up and seeping into the property, causing damage to the roof, walls, and foundation.  

And what happens next? This trapped water often freezes and creates ice dams, which prevent melting snow from properly draining off the roof. The weight of the ice dams typically damages the gutters and the roof, leading to costly repairs. Therefore, by ensuring that the gutters are clean and free from debris, landlords and property owners mitigate the risk of water damage and ice dams, thus preserving the integrity of the property.  

Tip #10: Inspect and Maintain Outdoor Connections  

In preparation for winter, it’s important for landlords and property owners to inspect and maintain outdoor hookups to prevent freezing and damage. This includes outdoor faucets, hoses, and any other water supply connections. Failing to winterize these outdoor hookups can lead to frozen and burst pipes, resulting in water damage and costly repairs. To prevent this, outdoor faucets should be turned off from the inside shut-off valve, and any remaining water in the pipes should be drained. Hoses should be disconnected, drained, and stored in a sheltered area.  

Additionally, outdoor faucet covers can be used to provide extra insulation and protection from freezing temperatures. By properly maintaining and winterizing outdoor hookups, landlords and property owners can safeguard their water supply system and prevent potential damage during the winter months.  

Tip #11: Prepare for Snow Removal  

In preparation for winter, landlords and property owners should make necessary arrangements for snow removal. This can involve securing a service contract with a professional snow removal company or ensuring that tenants are aware of their responsibilities for snow clearance. By proactively addressing snow removal, property owners can maintain safe and accessible premises for tenants and visitors, reducing the risk of slips and falls due to icy or snow-covered walkways and parking areas.  

Additionally, efficient snow removal can help preserve the condition of the property and its landscaping, preventing damage from heavy snow and ice buildup. By taking these steps, landlords and property owners can uphold the safety and functionality of their properties throughout the winter months.  

Tip #12: Consider Hiring Professionals  

It may be in your best interest to hire landscaping experts. Landscaping is quite time-consuming, and you need to weigh the cost against the benefits. This will differ from property owner to property owner. It truly depends on a variety of factors. If you own a lot of properties, you probably can’t take care of this on your own or with your family. Therefore, make the best decision for your specific business. 

Conclusion 

Winter is already here this year, and it comes around every year for many of us. Don’t wait until your winter landscaping issues are in your front yard (literally and figuratively). Be proactive, if you can. Your business will thank you and so will your plants. 

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