Leaves are changing color, temperatures are dropping, there’s pumpkin-spice flavoring in everything, and stores are putting out their Christmas displays! It must be fall! But what fall landscape tips should you follow to get ready? If you have any doubts and have a lot of questions about your landscape, you can always contact Milledgeville Landscaping Pros for some assistance and they will be glad to assist you.
But what do you need to do, as a homeowner, to prepare your property for the coming winter? When is the right time to do it? Where do you start? Here’s the list of the top 5 things you should do for your landscape maintenance to prepare for winter:
Five Fall Maintenance Tips
- Shrub trimming and perennial/ornamental grass cutbacks
Many of your landscape plants will benefit from taking the time to make sure they’re trimmed properly before winter. All of your perennials and tall ornamental grasses (like Karl Foerster grass) can be cut back pretty dramatically. Smaller ornamental grasses and perennials (like dwarf fountain grass or liriope) can be cut back this time of year. This healthy pruning, done properly, allows these landscape plants to retain their shape when they push new growth the following spring.
- Winter Protects
Winter Protection treatments should be done after your shrub trimming in the fall. These are also called “anti-desiccant” sprays. What happens to many landscape plants in the winter is this; they lose moisture more quickly than they can take in new moisture from the root system. This process is called “transpiration”. When this happens, much of the leaf tissue of your landscape plants is irreparably damaged. Over the course of several winters, it can affect plant health by causing the loss of leaf tissue that is vital for photosynthesis.
You might also want to consider a physical barrier in some areas (burlap barrier as an example), like those particularly prone to gusty or consistent winds, to prevent these winds from causing additional stress and winter damage.
- Clean Up Leaves
Recognizing that this one seems really obvious, you’d be surprised at the number of clients who don’t realize the impact that this can have on the health of your landscape. There’s even a whole argument from natural gardeners who will tell you that leaf litter is valuable compost material, and to “leave it” (see what we did there?) right where it lays.
- Tree and Shrub Fertilization
What we don’t normally think about is the plants that are doing the same thing. They need to store up energy reserves and carbohydrates for the winter, too. They need to have enough nutrition to survive throughout the cold and freezing temperatures that are quickly descending upon us. Fertilizing late in the season, after trees and shrubs are done growing for the season, truly helps sustain them through the winter and encourages healthy new growth the following spring. Don’t skip this important step in caring for your landscape.
- Tree Pruning
Tree pruning late in the season, or even over the winter itself, is a much better idea than most people realize. There are a few good reasons for this last of our fall landscape tips:
Winter weather itself. Heavy snow falls and ice storms throughout the winter accumulate on the plant. The more branches and stems throughout the plant means more places for precipitation to accumulate. More accumulation means more weight pressure pulling down on branches and stems. When that weight gets to a certain point, you get stems that snap and branches that break. Getting your trees pruned later in the season is good for the health of your plants and potentially for your budget. Don’t overlook this important part of preparing your landscape for the winter.