The winter may not be a very active time for your yard, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need any TLC during the season. Preparing for winter is just as important as preparing for any other season. In Pennsylvania, the cold can bring different types of challenges to your yard such as snow, ice, and even mice! Preparing and protecting your yard for the winter will help to ensure that your spring yard will look the best it has ever been. Here are our essential outdoor prep tips for the winter.

To Keep or Not to Keep

To Keep. Many ornamental kinds of grass will remain attractive if left standing throughout the better part of the winter. They may even provide food for the birds. However, they may also provide shelter for mice and rodents. If you do choose to leave your ornamental grasses standing, you will want to cut them back by early spring, before the new growth begins to grow into the old blades and makes it impossible not to cut back both.

Not to Keep. Perennials will come back next year because the roots survive, even though the growth above ground dies. Cutting off the dead and spent foliage a few inches above the ground in the fall or winter will not harm the plant.

Plan for Pruning

It may seem counterintuitive, but pruning in the winter has its advantages. First, with the lack of leaves on the plant, you can better determine where to make the proper cuts. The structure of the plant’s branches is easier to see and easy to follow. The winter weather also provides the least amount of chance of diseases being transmitted from one plant to another.

Many deciduous, or broadleaved, trees and shrubs can be pruned in the winter while dormant. This will help prepare them for the upcoming spring season. It is important to not prune evergreens. It is typically recommended that they are pruned during their growing season after the growth hardens off. Do not prune plants that bloom in the Spring.

Get Rid of Fall Leaves

While this one may seem obvious, you’d be surprised by the number of homeowners that do not recognize the impact this one task can have on the health of their landscape. When leaves and debris pile too high in your landscape beds, leaf litter can simply foster a whole host of issues. They become common places for diseases and pests to overwinter in your yard. In winter months, when sunlight, airflow, and regular moisture are lower than spring and fall, your plants are already under stress. Why increase the risk of stress by adding too much leaf litter to the base of your plants? The less hospitable you can make the garden for winter hardy pests, the fewer problems you’ll have come spring.

Start Planning Your Next Project!

Once the first official frost is no longer a threat, don’t you just want to run out into your yard and start enjoying it? It may surprise you to know that now, the cold months of winter, is the absolute best time to plan for your spring outdoor living project. It’s the off-season in the landscaping business as well, so now is the time to reach out to a landscape designer and get your project started. Beat the rush and contact a professional landscape design company like us and be ready to enjoy your new outdoor space sooner rather than later.

If any of these tips sound like they’re too much for you, or you’re not sure what you’re doing, we can help. Contact us today!