Updated: Feb 11
Living in the colorful state of Colorado, we get to experience every season. And without a doubt, winter is coming, and it’s coming quickly. The days are getting shorter and the temperatures will soon begin to slip. To protect your family and pets, you’ll wear warmer clothing; you’ll stay indoors and drink hot cocoa. But your garden isn’t so lucky. The plants are left to endure the harsh elements. And even though it appears there isn’t much happening on the surface, below the soil there is a plethora of activity that requires year round nurturing. So how do you protect your plants? Winter landscaping is an answer. October signals the end of the growing year, but when exactly that happens is hard to predict. A light freeze of 29 degrees to 32 degrees will kill tender plants. To extend the season, you can cover the most tender plants at night with a sheet or something similar. Be sure to remove the covering first thing in the morning. You might even successfully protect plants with a moderate freeze of 25 to 28 degrees. If your plant containers are movable, put them in a protected spot such as a garage and then return them to their original location when the temperature warms. The first hard frost – 24 degrees and colder – signals the end of the growing season. Most herbaceous perennials will not be able to tolerate that winter cold.
USE THE ELEMENTS
Just because winter brings ice, cold and snow, it does not mean you can’t use it to your advantage. Snow can actually protect your plants. A good amount of snow cover can act as an insulator, similar to mulch. But it can damage and break plants if you have too much. Be sure to monitor the conditions and act accordingly.
PREP YOUR PERENNIALS
Perennials need a lot of attention before the first snowfall. To start, clean up the area around these plants to get rid of debris. This will allow more air flow to the plants during the winter months. After the first frost, place a 6 inch layer of mulch around your garden. This will help keep rodents out while insulating the plant life. You can also use pine needles and chopped leaves if you do not have mulch available. Be sure to collect seeds of your favorite plants so you have a full stash to plant in the spring, and move the delicate plants indoors.
BABY YOUR BULBS
After planting your bulbs for next spring, be sure to preserve them all winter long. You can use evergreen boughs to keep the soil from shifting and cracking. This will also act as an insulator. If you’re concerned that your bulbs are too shallow, you can always move them indoors until it’s time for them to bloom.
WINTERIZE THOSE TREES, SHRUBS, AND ROSES
Trees, shrubs and roses are hearty plants that are sturdier in colder weather in comparison to others. But it’s still important to care for them before winter arrives. To care for them properly, stop fertilizing them in the late summer and stop major pruning; this avoids the stimulation of new growth. Be sure to clean out the old mulch from under these plants and spread over a new layer. Once the first frost comes, it’s time to add more mulch! Even though these plants can withstand colder temperatures better than others, they can still can be vulnerable to breakage and freezing.
STOP WEEDS BEFORE THEY START
When we think of weeds, we think of spending hours during the spring and summer pulling them, killing them and looking high and low for those pesky plants. But, did you know, they start scheming during the winter months? There is a way to avoid them completely—by using leaf mold mulch. First, remove any existing weeds from your garden. Then, spread a thick layer of this special concoction over the area where weeds are most bothersome. This will suffocate the weeds, stopping them before they can start.
Garden to-do list:
– Early October, stop deadheading roses and reduce water to encourage them to go into dormancy. If you had “black spot” on your roses, clean up all leaves and dispose of them in your trash. Do not compost as the problem will spread next year.
– Before a hard freeze, pick green tomatoes and ripen indoors.
– Save seeds of your favorite annuals and vegetable. All saved seeds should be stored in a cool, dry location.
– Flowers such as snapdragons, marigolds, violas, moss rose (Portulaca) and cosmos are excellent re-seeders. Don’t cultivate the soil around these plants if you want more of them next season.
– Pick pumpkins and winter squash by mid-October.
– Fertilize the lawn mid to late October. Many experts consider this the most important fertilization of the year.
– Core aeration in October will benefit lawns that have thatch buildup or that show signs of soil compaction.
– Plant garlic for harvesting next summer.
– Cover asparagus and rhubarb beds with 3 to 4 inches of mulch.
– Dig up tender bulbs such as cannas, dahlias and gladiolus and store in a dry location.
– Parsley can be dug, divided and potted to grow in a sunny window all winter.
– After fall harvest, “Heritage” raspberry stalks can be cut back to the ground.
– Plant amaryllis in pots indoors for Christmas bloom.
Prepare for winter landscaping:
– Clean, sharpen and oil tools and equipment before storing them for winter.
– Water trees and shrubs thoroughly to ensure they receive adequate moisture before going into dormancy and the ground freezes.
– Late October, after leaves fall, cover young, thin-barked trees with tree wrap to prevent winter sunscald.
– Drain or blow out your irrigation system and winterize all water features.
– During the coming winter months, keep watering with a garden hose until the ground freezes.
Choose Plant Escape for Your Residential Property Winter Cleanups
At Plant Escape, we’ve been providing top-quality plantscaping services to residential property owners for more than 40 years. Instead of offering cookie-cutter services, we develop personalized solutions for our clients. That’s why, when you contact us, we come to your property to assess your needs and objectives before providing you with a customized quote. And, of course, our courteous and knowledgeable team is always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
Let us help you take your residential property to the next level — contact us today!