We’re standing right at winter’s doorstep. However, now’s not the time to become complacent about the yard you worked so hard to maintain throughout the year. With cooler months come some general horticulture practices that will help your landscape thrive when warm weather returns.
Specifically, pruning tops the list of considerations when the mercury drops. At Turf Medic, our team uses the following calendar to assure lush results down the road.
The holidays tend to take over schedules this time of year. Between gatherings with friends and family, there are not many hours left to tackle weekend yard work. So, keep it simple this month. Take a quick inventory of trees, shrubs and foliage. Compiling a basic landscape profile – outlining what will require attention in the early days of 2020 – establishes a game plan and will help you stay out in front!
It’s the New Year and the right time to prune your shade trees. These include birch, maples, dogwoods and elms. These particular trees respond best when manicured during the coldest stretches of the season. Make sure to remove small twigs, as well as any dead or damaged limbs.
Few people look at the dog days of winter as ideal for landscape maintenance. Nonetheless, February marks a significant month in prepping your property for spring success. For instance, crape myrtles – which serve as beautifully-bright accent pieces to many yards – require pruning at this point.
Of course, less is more when it comes to trimming down this flowering shrub. For a neat appearance, remove any crossing branches as well as all little twigs growing from the trunk. Some people opt to top their crape myrtles, hoping this will create more blooms. This approach certainly frees up room for shoot growth, but we do not recommend it. While these plants generally tolerate this type of drastic cut, it’s often referred to as “crape murder” and can lead to health impacts in the long-term. The best technique is to simply focus on removal of dead branches and leave the canopy natural.
February also presents the opportunity to start addressing needs closer to ground level. Now’s the time to trim up ornamental grasses such as liriope, pampas and mondo. These grasses should be cut before spring begins to clear them of the previous year’s growth.
In addition, you’ll want to clean up overgrown broadleaf shrubs. These include Ligustrum (privet), boxwood, osmanthus, holly, cleyera, viburnum, etc. These plants flourish most when pruned in late February to their desired size and shape. As a good rule of thumb, make sure not to remove more than one third of the shrub in any 12-month cycle.
As chillier weather moves in and we head into shorter days, don’t lose sight of your yard’s potential. Spending an hour here and there this winter to tackle landscape needs will pay off in the Spring!