So far Illinois has had an unseasonably warm winter and less than normal snowfall. Last year’s winter felt like it would never end with many days below zero. This year you’ll experience a different winter with 20 to 30% lower than average snow fall.
The winter will most likely end a little colder and snowier February and March. With the unpredictable weather change our landscape can experience some serious damage due to fluctuations in temperature, snow and ice.
Here are a few tips to help protect your landscape:
- When the snow begins to fall snow plows will come out to clear the snow and deice. Unintentionally, these plows can cause damage to tree bark, branches, roots and flower beds. A great way to avoid equipment damage would be to mulch. There are many other benefits of mulch.
Mulch insulates roots and retains moisture. Midwinter freezing and thawing of the ground can kill roots. Mulching will help maintain a constant cool temperature during a warm weather change to a freezing night. Mulch also returns nutrients into the soil, helps the root system and improves soil structure. (Did you know that Landscape Concepts Management makes its own organic mulch? Watch this short video on how it’s produced.)
- Protect plants from cold winds. We recommend burlap, install it close but not touching; this will allow light and moisture to come through. Burlap can also reduce the effects of salt spray on evergreens.
- Temperatures may be cooler but your landscape still needs water. Watering should take place at the root level when the temperature rises above freezing. Avoid getting the plants stems and leaves wet if possible.
- Shield plants from hungry rodents, rabbits or deer; they can cause serious damage to plants. Surround the trunk with mesh cloth, burlap, or fence the lawn to help prevent creatures from entering the property.
- It’s tempting, but don’t knock the snow off shrubs or tree limbs as they are frozen, fragile and could break. Also if possible avoid walking on a frozen lawn as it could cause damage.
- Plants in containers should also be protected from old man winter. Put your containers in a sheltered place away from cold winds, cover them and leave them until spring.
A good start to your landscape in spring depends on what is done now before problems develop. Your landscaper should take proactive steps to monitor your plants even in winter. This is why we recommend one landscape professional for both landscape maintenance and snow removal. Your contractor should watch for changes in the same way they would watch your plants in the growing season. A proactive contractor will act quickly when damage is noticed. This will ensure a good start to spring.