Are you an avid skier? Snowboarder? Hockey player? Snowshoer? If you answered yes to any of those, then good: you’re probably happy to look forward to winter and will be pleased to read this blog post. If you answered no, you may not be too excited to think about winter at this time of year. But the fact is, if you own or manage a property, it’s never too early to start thinking about preparing it for the cold weather.
Here are some things to consider when preparing your property for winter:
General property preparation
- Irrigation winterization: If there’s any residual water left in your irrigation system, it can be catastrophic if it freezes, causing broken pipes and damaging other components. Winterizing it – making sure all the water is removed from the system – can be a dangerous procedure, so it’s best to call a professional like Landscape America.
- Install plow stakes: Make sure plows know the borders of your driveway or parking lot even when it’s covered with snow, by installing plow stakes. If plows veer off your driveway or parking lot, it can damage both your property and the plow equipment. Though fiberglass stakes are a little more expensive than wood, we recommend the more cost-effective, durable, reusable and colorful fiberglass.
- Winterize outdoor sinks: Much like your irrigation system, any other outdoor plumbing can easily be damaged by water freezing in the pipes. Have someone ensure that the water is cleared out before winter strikes.
- Cover or store appliances: Your outdoor appliances could rust or be damaged in other ways during a harsh, snowy winter. Make sure they’re covered or stored in a safe, dry place.
- Aerate your lawn: This is something to take care of well before snowfall. To avoid your soil compacting over the winter, have your lawn aerated in September or early October. Aeration puts small holes in the lawn, which allows water, air and nutrients to get down to the grass’ roots.
- Use slow-release fertilizer: Spread some slow-release fertilizer in the late fall and early spring. As the name implies, it slowly releases nutrients into the soil to keep the grass fed during the winter months.
- Mow to at least 3”: Keeping your grass around 2.5-3” long will protect it from the elements and also from winter rodents.
Tree and shrub preparation
- Prune: There are three good reasons to prune ornamental shrubs and trees as winter approaches: 1) It makes regrowth faster in the spring; 2) It helps prevent damage from snow and ice, and 3) It’s easier to shape them at that time of year. You can start pruning once the leaves have fallen. If you are not sure how to prune your tree or shrub, give us a call or contact your local arborist.
- Protect your young trees and shrubs: Trees and shrubs tend to be a larger investment than let’s say a little plant. We recommend you wrap newly planted trees with burlap to protect it from the harsh winter conditions. Rabbits and other rodents can damage your trees, so you’ll want to protect the trunk by placing a cylinder of ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth around the base of the trunk. The cylinder should extend a few inches below the ground.
- Anti-desiccant spraying: You don’t want your trees and shrubs to dry out in the winter. An anti-desiccant spray can help you avoid just that. It’s especially important for evergreens because they don’t have leaves to drop to help conserve moisture.
It’s all a lot to consider. But the good news is you don’t have to deal with it yourself. Just give Landscape America a call and we’ll take care of everything we’ve recommended in this post to winterize your property. Then you can devote your time to skiing, snowboarding, hockey, snowshoeing, or just plain sitting at home staying warm in front of your favorite Netflix shows.