Different seasons require different maintenance tasks for your landscaping. The Northwest almost never sees extremely cold, harsh winters. This allows residents to avoid many of the winter preparation tasks that gardeners in the Midwest, for instance, must carry out. Still, there are a few preparatory projects that landscaping maintenance experts recommend for this time of year.
Caring for Evergreen Plants
Some Northwest specimens, such as hollies and azaleas, photosynthesize sunlight into energy all year long. For this type of evergreen plant, keep up basic landscaping maintenance during the fall. Remove crossed branches through pruning. Avoid spraying toxic pesticides; instead, spray bug infestations with horticultural oil, which is available from landscaping maintenance retailers.
Getting your Lawn Ready for Winter
Landscaping maintenance gurus do not recommend applying fertilizer in the fall, since most turf species are dormant during the winter months. However, you should continue to cut your lawn to 1.5 inches throughout the winter. (Wintertime landscaping maintenance involves waiting for a dry spell so you can actually cut the lawn.) You should also remove the flowers of weeds now, so as to prevent weed seeds from being dispersed throughout your lawn. Finally, keep your lawn raked of leaves and debris to avoid mold issues later on.
Deadheading Spent Blossoms
Hydrangeas and other flowering plants should be deadheaded once they're done blooming. This landscaping maintenance task can even cause a second round of blossoms in the fall. Just remove flower remnants to send the plant the message that it can bloom again.
If soil doesn't have the right nutrients, it won't produce strong, healthy plants. Autumn is a good season for soil amendment. For testing, bring a soil sample to a local nursery or university nursery to have it tested. Those who are familiar with landscaping yards know that local soils are often heavy in clay, which prevents drainage and can even drown certain species. With test results in hand, you'll have a better understanding of which compounds should be added to improve soil quality.
Laying Down Mulch
Mulch is soil insulation - it balances soil temperatures during the winter. Mulch also reduces the growth of weeds and makes it much easier to pull any weeds that do grow. Lastly, mulch provides a layer of nutrient-rich humus, creating a light, airy layer of topsoil. When landscaping properties, it's wise to save grass clippings, dry leaves and other organic detritus to act as mulch later on. You can also buy mulch from a landscaping maintenance retailer.
Landscaping maintenance experts cringe when they over-pruning. Too often, pruning involves simply "shaving" plants with electrical tools. This approach is quick, but it harms the plant over the long term. Instead, wait until herbaceous perennials turn brown. Then, gently prune the plant by removing crossed branches. Basically, you want to create some space around the heart of the bush or shrub. Certain species require special pruning techniques, so ask a landscaping maintenance expert if you're not sure how to cut back a certain species.
These landscape winterization methods will set up your yard for an eruption of new growth and beautiful blossoms when spring returns.
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