Your trees and shrubs are a key part of your garden design, whether you use them for privacy, sound reduction, or simply decoration. For this reason, it is important to landscape trees and shrubs properly in all seasons, including winter. But while landscaping your plants is often easy to understand and complete in the warmer months, winter care can be slightly more confusing. For this reason, many homeowners choose to hire professional landscaping services to help them prepare their garden for cold weather. However, by following a few tips, landscaping in the winter can be easier than you might expect.
To properly landscape trees and shrubs in the winter, gardeners should begin by watering their plants sufficiently in the fall, especially if any of the plants are newly-planted. Few people realize that most of the winter damage their garden experiences isn’t due to the cold; instead, the drying effects of the winter sun and wind, combined with the frozen ground, render the roots unable to draw up more water and cause browning. To protect against this, give your trees and shrubs the equivalent of one inch of water a week, unless it is a wet fall. Continue this until the ground freezes, especially for your evergreens and broadleaf evergreens, which don’t lose their leaves and need a good store of water.
Some homeowners don’t like to wrap their plants in burlap when they landscape trees and shrubs for winter. After all, it is not only extra work, but the results are also less than attractive. Fortunately, most established evergreens will not need this step. Newly-planted shrubs and trees and less hardy plants, however, will need to be wrapped to prevent wind burn and other issues. You should also consider wrapping plants near the road to prevent salt damage. To wrap your plants, hammer four wooden stakes into the ground and staple burlap around your plant. Never use plastic, or you could actually overheat your plants on warm days.
Covering the roots of evergreen plants with a thick layer of bark mulch is a common step for gardeners looking to landscape trees and shrubs in winter; this step helps preserve moisture during the cold months. However, you should also take steps to protect against rabbits and mice, species that gnaw on roots. Use a plastic guard on your trees, making sure to remove it in the spring. Similarly, put chicken wire around your shrubs. As a final step, think about using a pest repellent spray on your lower trunks, branches and stems. This product will typically need to be reapplied after wet weather.