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Total Landscape Management
How to Protect Your Landscape During the Winter

Thursday, January 10, 2019 | by Scott Bennett

Winter is in full force here in the Salt Lake City area. Winter storm warnings are common. About every week or so, we get a few more inches of snow. We’ve had cold conditions with the temperature hovering in the teens and some warming and melting trends with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40’s. Your lawn and landscaping may be the last thing on your mind right now, as you worry more about keeping your driveway clear. Is there anything to be done to protect landscaping right now? As long as winter in January feels, spring is right around the corner.

Here are some ideas on what you can do to keep your yard healthy, so when the snow finally melts, you will have a yard in full bloom.

1. Avoid piling salty snow on landscape.

Many of us use a deicer on our driveways and walkways to keep them safer for people coming to our home. The cheapest and most common deicer is rock salt. In fact, in Utah in the winter, you will see rock salt everywhere. You will see coating the roads. You will see sidewalks outside of schools and businesses white with salt. You may even use it yourself.

Even though it does make our roadways safer, it is actually bad for plants. Rock salt can injure buds and branches and can lead to plants withering and dying. When the snowplow comes through and leaves that ridge of snow, ice, and slush at the end of your driveway, don’t pile it in the same spot, over the same landscape. If you use rock salt in your driveway, again, try to spread out where you pile snow that you scrape from your driveway to avoid damage.

2. Secure Young Trees

Before the snow flies, secure young trees with stakes or lattices so they will be better able to withstand winter winds. A major cause of damage to trees is broken branches due to heavy winter winds or snow. If, after a heavy snow fall, you see young trees drooping under the weight of snow, you can brush some of it off with a broom to help your trees out. We all want to protect our trees and avoid having the professional landscapers having to come out and fix a damaged tree in the spring. So, try and protect them over the winter to keep them upright.

3. Protect Delicate Plants

Mulch or cover delicate plants with burlap to protect them from hard freezes and to maintain a steady level of moisture. It’s best to leave a 4 inch ring around your plants without mulch. Rodents love to burrow in mulch over the winter months. Mulching too close to plants makes their stems and roots too tempting.

4. Make A Snow Fence For Protection

You don't need to be in the commercial snow removal business to make a fence that can protect your lawn. Make a snow fence to protect certain plants from snow and wind. Take note of the wind patterns in your yard. Do you often get a wind from the south? Is snow often blowing and piling on certain plants or landscape? Building a small snow fence doesn’t take much time and is easy to put up and take down. One can really reduce the stress of winter on your plants. You probably have fences and even your house that protect certain plants. You wouldn’t have to have a snow fence for everything. But if a $15 snow fence can protect $200 worth of landscape, you can see how a little effort and money will really pay off.

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