Promote a Healthy Landscape This Winter


The winter months may not seem like the best time to work in your yard, but right now is when you should prepare your lawn and landscaping for the coming growing season. Follow these pro tips and look forward to a spring you can spend just watching the grass grow. 

To Dos:


Trim and Prune

Winter is the optimal time to cut back overgrown shrubs, prune perennial hedges, remove damaged tree branches and trim ornamental grasses. Shrubs and hedges will leaf out more quickly in the spring if you do hard pruning this time of year. Tree branches damaged by winter weather like ice storms are more prone to insect and disease infestations, but proper care can help trees repair themselves. Use of a pruning saw is recommended. To help prevent damage to trees from heavy snow in the winter, brush snow from weighted down branches instead of shaking. Perennial grasses should be cut at the ground. Homeowners can make this task easier by using a hedge trimmer.

Cleanup and Protect

It is extremely important not to leave debris and leaves on your lawn over the winter. Doing so can smother the grass, create disease conditions, and invite insects, mice, and other damaging pests. After cutting your grass a final time in the fall, clear your lawn thoroughly with a blower. Piling snow on grass for long periods of time can also damage it, and snow piles may starve nearby plants of oxygen. Prompt removal of snow from sensitive growing areas like flower beds is also recommended. Adding mulch around trees, plants and shrubs can also add extra protection in winter. Mulching controls erosion and loss of water. A 2-inch layer of mulch will reduce water loss and help maintain uniform soil temperature around roots.


Prep Beds and Plant

As spring nears, turn your attention to prepping and planting beds. Check first planting timing recommendations for your area before you begin.To prep beds, you should first define the edges by hard edging with a bed redefiner, followed by a perimeter pass with a lawn mower along the edge, followed by line trimming for a clean, crisp finish. Finally, install your bulbs for spring. For ideal results, the bulbs should be planted in a well-draining, elevated planting bed. 


Service and Care for Your Tools

Taking care of servicing your outdoor power equipment in the offseason gets you ready to go in the spring. Your dealer will also be less busy during this time, eliminating some of the wait for service. Having your lawn mower blades sharpened, changing air filters and spark plugs on other equipment, and storing your equipment properly is all a good idea during winter. STIHL recommends storing your tools such as chainsaws, blowers and trimmers with STIHL MotoMix® Premixed Fuel, a stable, ethanol-free, high performance fuel that’s ideal for occasional use over the long winter months. Also never leave your tools outside and exposed to the weather, especially in the winter.

Pro tips for STIHL provided by: 

Bruce Allentuck is president of Allentuck Landscaping Co., an award-winning landscaping firm with over 25 years of experience in Clarksburg, Maryland. The focus of Allentuck Landscaping is residential services, including building and caring for landscapes. The business has a weekly blog with many helpful gardening tips and ideas.

A national trade and advocacy association representing nearly 100,000 landscape industry professionals worldwide, member companies of the NALP specialize in lawn care, landscape design and installation, landscape maintenance, tree care, irrigation and water management, and interior plantscaping.

YardApes is an award-winning landscape firm based in Connecticut that offers full-service design, construction and maintenance. The firm has served residential and commercial clients since 1990. Project designs and landscaping advice from YardApes has been featured by HGTV, Turf Magazine and numerous other media.

Bob Grover is a professional landscaper and president of Pacific Landscape Management, known throughout the Pacific Northwest for creating and maintaining beautiful landscapes. Bob has 35 years of experience and his industry expertise has previously been featured in industry publications such as Lawn & Landscape and Turf Magazine.

Cartwright Landscaping, located in Richmond, VA, is a full service, landscape design and installation company equipped to handle all landscaping projects. Cartwright Landscaping is a proud member of both the Central Virginia Nursery & Landscaping Association and Virginia Nursery & Landscaping Association.