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From the Landscape Committee Chairperson:
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season. I hope you have the chance to spend time with family and friends. It looks like the prediction is this winter might be wet and cold. I know many of you have a love-hate relationship with winter. One day we have pleasant temperatures and the next can be freezing temperatures. Freezing rain and sleet are always unwelcome and arrive with little-to-no warning. Here are some tips on how to conquer these winter foes so you can properly celebrate with your families on the days of beloved winter advisory school cancellations.
- Rake (and mulch) those leaves.
Prepping your lawn for the challenges of winter requires a clean slate. Before you make major moves on bolstering your lawn, make sure that it’s free of any and all fall debris. Leaves can block sunlight and encourage disease on your lawn or plants.
- Aerate after your final mow.
As our lawns age it might be necessary to aerate your lawn. This ensures that your lawn can absorb every ounce of the nutrients to come. Aeration is the process of perforating your lawn with small holes so that air, water, and nutrients can make the greatest impact possible.
- Top dress. Mix a good compost into your flower beds so they are ready for spring. You can mulch the leaves you removed from your lawn and use these or you can purchase mulch at the local Nursery. A good layer of mulch in your flower beds will help protect your plants from a hard freeze or ice storm.
- Fertilize. Fertilization is the most common (and foolproof) way to make sure your lawn stays green and lush. Pairing fertilization with aeration (if needed) and watering will put your lawn on the fast track to long-term perfection. (and prevent weeds)
- Water. As always, any efforts to prep your lawn for winter can only turn into reality with good, old-fashioned H2O. Don’t forget to drain and remove your garden hoses from their outlets. Then, cover all faucets to prevent damage brought on by freezing temperatures.
- Bring in potted plants. With all the time and love you put into your potted treasures, be sure to bring them inside if we have freezing temperatures for several days. If temperatures stay below freezing for a short period, try wrapping your potted plants with freeze cloth.
- Relax. Your lawn has persevered many winters before, and it will continue to do so for many winters to come. Enjoy your fall and winter. A few other things to thing about this fall before winter arrives.
- Continue to plant shade trees, ornamental trees, and shrubs.
- Relocate established trees and shrubs after they enter dormancy (late November to January). Plant ‘balled and burlap’ trees and large shrubs.
- Continue refrigerator chilling of tulips and Dutch hyacinths in preparation for late December/early January planting.
- Plant pansies, flowering kale and cabbage, dianthus, cyclamen, violas, and other cool season annuals. Plant daffodil and grape hyacinth immediately after purchase.
- Divide and replant perennials such as Iris and daylily.
- Prune evergreen trees (as needed) such as magnolias, live oaks, and wax myrtles to minimize possible ice damage.
- Cut back dormant perennials such as lantana and salvia after the first freeze.
- Do major re-shaping of shade trees as needed after the first freeze when plants go dormant.
- Mulch leaves on your lawn. Shred excess leaves and add to planting beds or compost pile.
- Water thoroughly before a hard freeze to reduce plants’ chances of damage.
- Replenish finished compost and mulch in planting beds, preferably before the first freeze.
- Continue to mow warm season turf up to first freeze.
- Apply fertilizer to pansies and other winter color plants to promote strong growth if needed.
- Inspect houseplants that are coming indoors to be sure they have no insect pests.
- Remove and drain garden hoses from outlets and cover faucets to prevent freeze damage.
- Water lawn and all other plants once every three weeks or so, if supplemental rainfall is less than one inch in a three week period.
Wishing everyone a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
Debbie Price, Landscape Chair