Winter isn't far off in most parts of the country, and it has already begun in the northern latitudes. Freezing and sub-zero temperatures, driving rain, sleet, fierce winds, and piles of snow are just around the corner. And even if your winters are extremely mild and only mean a little less sunshine and fewer hours of daylight where you are, everyone should give thought to their landscaping. Just as some animals hibernate during winter, your plants go into a period of dormancy as well. Here is what you need to know to get your plants ready for winter:
Water Your Plants
Even though your shrubs and annuals are actively growing through the winter, like most living creatures, they still need water to survive. An extended period of sub-zero temperatures can be very difficult for plants to deal with. This is one of many reasons why it's best to choose plants that are meant for your hardiness zone. When it is extremely cold, there is often very little humidity in the air. Very cold winter days also tend to be sunny days. This combination can dry out your plants, particularly conifers and small shrubs. Deciduous trees drop their leaves before winter as a natural defense mechanism against the tree version of dehydration.
Late fall is the time to help your plants get as much moisture as possible before the ground freezes. You don't want to drown them, but water your conifers, shrubs, deciduous trees, rose bushes, and plants like rhododendrons until the ground freezes. This will send them into the winter with the highest possible moisture content.
Fertilizer is a good thing; it provides your plants with the supplemental nutrients they need to grow and flourish. However, you don't want to force your plant into an unnatural growth period. Fertilizer should be stopped in late summer, so if you're still feeding your plants, stop.
Mulch Your Plants, Shrubs, and Trees
Once the soil has frozen, you can help your plants survive the winter by mulching them. Mulching helps to keep the moisture in. It also helps to keep the soil just a little bit warmer. Except for newly planted trees and shrubs, you don't want to begin mulching too early. It's important the plants do some gradual acclimating to the falling temperatures. It's also important to use the right mulching material. Many people use a landscaping service to do the mulching for them, knowing they can depend on them to do the right kind of mulching at the right time for their plants.
Contact a company like Captive Landscape Designs for more information and assistance.