Days are getting shorter and evenings cooler as winter approaches. Sweater weather also means a change in the to-do list around the yard.
Here are a few things to consider when preparing your landscapes and gardens for winter.
- Protect sensitive plants from cold injury when freezing or frost is predicted. Cover plants with cloth or a similar material at night, leaving the covers open at the bottom so heat from soil can help warm plants.
- When frost or freezing is expected, irrigate dry topsoil at least 3 days before the cold weather to increase the soil's ability to retain heat.
- Adjust watering schedules according to the weather and your plants' changing need for water.
- Reduce irrigation frequency or turn off systems if rainfall is adequate. Excessive water or poor draining can lead to root rot and other plant diseases.
- Irrigate deeply but infrequently if the winter is dry.
- Manage weeds using nonchemical methods such as hoeing, hand weeding, or mowing.
- Apply organic mulch such as wood chips or bark chips where it is thin and where soil is bare beneath trees and shrubs. Mulches prevent weed seed germination by blocking sunlight.
- Clean up old fruit and remove fallen leaves. These sanitation practices help prevent disease and manage insects that may be problematic in springtime.
- Prune deciduous trees and shrubs such as apple, crape myrtle, rose, and stone fruit. Pruning allows for good ventilation and is important for maintaining the structure and health of trees and shrubs.
Looking for additional winter guidelines? Subscribe to our Seasonal Landscape IPM Checklist for a monthly email with pest management tips for your area.