As many extend the amount of time they’re spending at home, they’re extending the use of their outdoor living space as well, despite a drop in temperatures. Getting outside, and breathing in fresh air, even when it’s chilly, is good for our mental and physical well-being. That’s why features like fire pits, outdoor heaters and enhanced lighting are on the rise as homeowners look to add warmth and ambience in winter.
In addition to crafting a cold-weather friendly outdoor space, it’s important to tend to your yard this winter as well. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offers these tips to keep your yard in top shape for winter use:
Stop trimming your lawn once it freezes. Cutting your grass too short can leave it dry and exposes it to the elements, as well as insects and disease. Trim your grass to the height recommended for your lawn variety before it freezes.
Add a thin layer of mulch to your lawn. A thin layer of mulch can protect your grass roots from snow and frost. It can even prevent deeper layers of soil from freezing, making it easier for your lawn to bounce back in the spring.
Check your trees for dead or damaged limbs. Removing dead or damaged limbs before inclement weather arrives, is one way to protect your shrubs and yard from damage (not to mention people and pets!). Snow and ice can weigh heavily on dead branches and make them snap and fall. Remove any dead branches carefully with clippers, a chainsaw or pole pruner, following safety precautions. Consult an arborist for problematic trees.
Keep new (and old) plantings well-hydrated. Many people enhance their yard with trees and shrubs during the pandemic. Caring for them in the winter is important, as plants and trees that are well-hydrated are more likely to survive a hard freeze. Newly planted trees can only survive about two weeks in the winter without water, so be sure to water any new trees you’ve added to your landscape if they aren’t getting water naturally from rain or snow. If your outside hose is already shut off for the winter, then use a bucket and add five gallons to the area around the tree.
Continue watering plants and trees. Older plants and trees should enter winter well-hydrated, so continue watering even after the leaves have dropped. Even in the wintertime, hardy evergreen plants continue to lose moisture through their needles and if it’s a dry winter they need supplemental water too.
Don’t shake heavy snow and ice off branches. It may be tempting for children (or adults) to wiggle those branches and watch the snow come off, but snow or ice can damage a branch. Shaking them can cause the branches to snap. It’s better to wait until the snow melts to assess the damage.
Remove damaged branches as soon as the weather allows you to do it safely. If snow or ice have snapped a limb, look at the cut and assess the damage. Try to get a clean cut on an already broken branch or limb, as this will make it more difficult for insects or disease to enter the stressed area on your tree or shrub. Follow all manufacturer’s safety precautions if using a chainsaw or pole pruner.
Be careful about salt. Salt can melt snow and ice, but it can also damage plants and trees by drawing water away from their roots. Keep salt applications away from your trees and shrubs. Salt should also be cleaned off pet paws following a romp outside in the snow.
— courtesy RIS Media