Getting Your Shrubs And Trees Ready For Winter

With winter on the horizon, it's time for those who live in cold climates to winter-proof their landscaping. Here's how to get your plants ready for winter and provide them the protection they need to make it through to spring: 

Install Snow Fencing

Snow fencing is usually 3-4-ft tall wooden pickets strung together with galvanized wire. The pickets are placed edge-to-edge, with no space in between, making it difficult for snow to drift in. There are other types, but for protecting your trees, this is the best type to use.

Measure the circumference of each tree trunk you want to protect and then double it. Form a cylinder around the tree and use wire to secure one end to the other. Once you have your cylinder fashioned, fill it with straw, wood chips, or even leaf mulch from your autumn cleanup in the yard. Do this to every tree in your yard that isn't protected by a living windbreak. The purpose isn't to keep the tree warm; it's to prevent them from desiccation by the harsh winds that come with winter in severe climates. The organic matter will also provide some nutrients as it decays. The cylinders don't need to be removed in spring, but you will eventually have to build new ones as the tree outgrows the protection.

Cover Your Shrubs

Your shrubs can suffer the same fate from drying out. Before winter is underway, give them a good soaking each week until the first snowfall, especially if there hasn't been much rain. Saturated soil will hold the heat in longer than dry soil will, and this will help prevent the shallower roots of most shrubs from becoming frost damaged. You can buy a roll of burlap, or you can buy polypropylene covers specifically for this purpose. If you use the burlap, you simply cover the shrub with the fabric, using twine to secure it. You can also buy large burlap bags and simply slip it over each shrub. Mulch the base once the shrubs are covered.

Prune Your Trees

Heavy snow can wreak havoc on your trees. Limbs can easily break with the tremendous weight of wet snow. In late fall, examine each tree, looking for any dead limbs, paying special attention to the crotches. Pruning is especially important on fruit trees as they are smaller limbed. If you don't know how to prune, hire a landscaping service to do it for you, so you don't over prune.  

Contact a landscape maintenance team for more information and assistance.