Preparing your landscape for winter
Snow and ice create beautiful panoramas. However, the damage our lawns experience is another story. Just as we prepare everything else, our lawn and landscapes need winter maintenance and protection. Many homeowners experience lawn kill. Plants and greenery do not always survive either. As long as the basics are covered, come spring, you will not have to spend a lot of money trying to revive your lawn. If you choose to let your landscape ride out the winter months, just hope for the best. Patio and outdoor living spaces should be equipped to survive the cold climate and all expected elements.
Your lawn may experience some damage throughout the cold months. Most common would include ice and snow damage, crown hydration, salt damage, and snow mold.
Ice and snow damage- freezing rain or as snowfalls turn into ice, your lawn may not survive. Depending on your yard’s existing condition and the duration of which it is held under the cold elements will determine the amount of damage.
Salt damage- perfect for safe commutes, paved roads, sidewalks, driveways, pathways, and walkways. However, this leads to a dehydrated lawn once the snow has melted. Damage from de-icing agents can be reversed. As a preventative measure, mixing sand and de-icing salt may reduce some harsh effects. Ask your local landscape supplier for de-icing agents that are safe for your lawn and plants.
Crown hydration- occurs when there is a fluctuation between warm and freezing temperatures. Towards the end of the season, heading into spring, warmer temperatures happen throughout the day. When evening comes, temperatures drop significantly, leaving your soil, grass, and plants drenched and cold.
Snow mold- there are two types of snow mold, grey, and pink. Both are problematic. Snow mold can occur when there is heavy snowfall, and the ground has not become frozen. Signs of snow mold appear in the spring when the snow melts. You should apply a fungicide in the fall before any winter elements become an issue.
Other landscape elements
As for greenery and plants, the chance of survival during harsh winter months are slim. Cover tree bark with burlap and covering shrubs/plants with tarp or fabric is ideal. Regarding small plants, take them indoors. Mulching is another effective way to protect and supply your plants with nutrients as it decomposes.
Patio furniture should also be tucked away or covered, including outdoor accessories such as fountains or statues. Pay close attention to which de-icing agent you use on your outdoor living space, terrace, and deck/patio. Always ask a landscape professional to determine which product is best.
Quick Prevention tips
- Do not let your grass overgrow before the first snowfall, keep an eye on the weather, and mow your lawn.
- In the fall, rake and remove leave piles before the snow hits. Do this before you mow your lawn for the last time.
- When removing snow from driveways, pathways, or patios, avoid having mounds of a snow pile on the lawn.
- Apply a preventative fungicide.
- Cover plants, trees, greenery with fabric.
- Apply mulch to soil beds.