Keeping your garden picturesque can be a lot of work, but the payoff is worth is. Gardeners take hope in the beautiful blooms, healthy shrubbery, and velvet grasses that make up their gardens. And, whether you do all the work yourself or hire some of it done, the reward is a beautiful garden and a healthier planet.
Now is the time to winterize your lawn. Most lawn services will winterize it, if you do not know what to do. Basically, you put down a fertilizer that will boost the roots and make them stronger so that they can survive freezes and slow snow melt. You don’t want to mow it down at this stage, because the grass will hold snow in place and allow it to melt, rather than blow away or run off.
This is also the time to consider pruning your trees and shrubs. For deciduous trees, wait until the sap has retreated to the roots. This will keep the tree from being weakened. Once the trees have lost their leaves, you can see the branching patterns better. It is easier to identify branches that are rubbing against each other and remove them, and thin out the canopy.
Most shrubs that are evergreen do not need pruning. They will have colorful berries this time of year. However, once the berries have all been eaten by neighborhood birds and squirrels, you may want to trim them back to the size you want. The spring growth spurt will make up for any over-pruning you do.
Some shrubs, such as roses, do much better if you trim them back. Find out the specifics for your type of roses. By cutting them back, they will have much more vigorous growth in the spring, with larger, healthier blooms.
Now is also the best time to mulch your flower beds and tree bases. Make sure that the mulch does not pile up on the trunks of trees, as this can strangle the tree and rob it of oxygen. Many homeowners rake up the leaves from the lawn and use them as mulch. The problem with this is that, as the leaves decompose, they can leach nutrients from the soil. It is better to compost leaves and let them decompose to the point where they begin to put nutrients into the soil, rather than leach them out. Other gardeners prefer commercially processed mulch. The mulch not only protects the roots from all but the coldest of temperatures, it holds in moisture, chokes out weeds, and looks really nice in the winter landscape.
The winter landscape can be rather bleak. But, you can brighten up the garden with well-placed ceramic plant pots and flower planters with colourful winter plants. Holly bushes covered with red berries, cabbage and kale with pretty blues and greens, Nandina shrubs with their varied colours of foliage and bright crimson berries, and pansies can all add color, motion, and texture to your winter garden. If you don’t know how to care for these plants, contact a landscaper. It is well worth the investment.