As winter blankets the world in a serene layer of snow, it’s time to shift our focus from pumpkin-spiced lattes to roaring fireplaces and cozy evenings indoors. Just as holiday design trends evolve, so do the tasks we must tackle to keep our garden healthy, and ready to embrace the cold, dry months. With the arrival of December, it’s time to delve into the essential winter plant maintenance checklist. Bid farewell to autumn and usher in the winter with a yard that’s well-prepared for the season.
To begin, prioritize the decluttering of your outdoor space. Clear away fallen leaves and debris to prevent pests and diseases that thrive in colder months. Inspect your plants closely, removing any unhealthy sections and bidding adieu to spent annuals. Your vegetable patch should be cleared of old stems and plant remnants, but remember, healthy plant waste is perfect for enriching compost or integrating directly into the soil for natural nourishment.
Don’t overlook your trees and shrubs. Keep them hydrated as long as temperatures remain above freezing, scheduling watering during the warm hours of the day to prevent potential root damage from freezing temperatures. Your sprinkler system, by now, is likely blown out, so use a hose with a manual sprinkler for watering. During winter, plants don’t require the same amount of water, so 10-15 minutes, one to two times a week, can make a significant difference. Keeping the frosty weather outside, always make sure to disconnect the hose after use.
Turf winter watering is a critical aspect, considering the generally dry winters in certain areas. Adjust your watering frequency based on temperature, providing guidance between 50 and 70 degrees, 40 and 60 degrees, and consistently below 50 degrees. Water every 10 to 14 days if there’s less than 6″ of snow. Remember, safety comes first—water only when temperatures are safely above freezing, and water the ground, not the foliage, to prevent frost damage.
Considering the lack of nutrients in Colorado’s soil and the challenges posed by harsh winters, a late-season application of nutrients is essential for mature trees and shrubs. Arborists typically handle this process, injecting a biostimulant, often consisting of sea kelp and other biologically active components, into the roots of trees and plants.
Perennials also demand attention. Trim back those without winter appeal, allowing evergreens and ornamental grasses to stand tall, adding a splash of color and texture to your winter garden. Fresh organic mulch over perennial beds acts as a cozy blanket, providing extra defense against winter weather fluctuations.
Protecting delicate flora is crucial. Shield smaller evergreen shrubs from harsh winds with protective structures, and use organic mulch as a warming blanket for roses and bulb beds. For young trees, consider installing barriers to safeguard them from curious wildlife. When it comes to plant care, it’s better to err on the side of caution, and if in doubt, seek advice from professional landscaping companies or arborists to ensure your garden thrives year-round.
By following this comprehensive checklist, you’ll ensure that your garden not only survives but thrives throughout the winter, maintaining its beauty and resilience. Embrace the season and ready your outdoor space for the serene wonders of winter.