Winter care for new landscape plants

Winter care for new landscape plants

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Summer is winding down and before we know it fall will be here. Here are a few things you can do this fall to make sure your plants are prepared and ready to go in the spring. As we all know, plants need water to survive and being properly watered in the fall will also help them to survive the winter. Watering deeply once a week or so during late summer and early fall will help plants prepare for the winter months and resist damage from winter desiccation.

  • Landscaping
  • Top 10 Winter Plants
  • Care of Ornamental Plants in the Landscape
  • Remind clients that plants still need water even in the winter
  • 10 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter
  • Pruning Landscape Plants
  • Pruning Plants with a Purpose
  • Container maintenance
  • Mulching is the best way to protect plants during cold weather
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: TOP 10 Winter Flowering Plants for Beginner Gardeners


By: Sara Elliott. These garden inhabitants create interest, texture and a touch of the unexpected in the landscape when our springtime favorites are taking a long winter's nap -- and they do it with style. Let's take a look at 10 plants, trees and shrubs that can transform a barren, chilly landscape into a winter wonderland.

For each plant, we'll discuss what it will look like in your garden, what type of soil and water it needs, where it should be planted, and some tips and tricks to give it a chance to excel. This map splits North America into 11 sections, numbered 1 to 11, with each section being 10 degrees FahrenheitThis map is used to illustrate which plants can survive in which regions [source: United States National Arboretum ].

With a little imagination, and some well-deserved admiration for these special plants, even gardeners who don't like to get cold feet will start to see gardening potential in the cooler months of the year. Exercising a green thumb when you have to bury it in the snow takes dedication, but there are some plants that deserve the effort.

Give winter gardening a try; you might just discover that the cold is cooler than you thought. If you're lucky enough to live in zones 7 to 9, camellias can add color and interest to your garden all year long. Even in colder zones, you can probably cultivate some of the new cold climate hybrids. Height: Camellias average about 10 feet in height 3. Water: Keep camellias uniformly moist. They don't tolerate drought conditions, so keep the watering can handy.

Planting: Camellias prefer partial shade. If you plant them in too much sun, the leaves will start to burn, and if you don't offer them enough light, you won't get as many luscious flowers.

Start new plants in spring after the last frost. In the next section, we'll explore the dramatic Japanese maple. Some varieties can grow to a height of 25 feet 7. They're prized for their fall foliage, which is often red and sometimes golden. There are also a number of dwarf varieties available that are easy to grow and make interesting focal points in the landscape.

The overall silhouette of the Japanese maple can vary from vase-shaped to cascading, depending on which type you select, and the leaf shapes are variable too. Memories of the vivid red, golden or ruby leaves will stay with you long after the last leaf has fallen.

It's a great first act for the winter season to come. Soil: Japanese maples will tolerate poor soil but do best in loamy soil a combination of clay, silt and sand with a pH from 3. They don't like wet roots, so make sure the surrounding soil drains well. Water: Although somewhat drought tolerant, young plants may suffer from stress in summer if not watered regularly.

Japanese maples are shallow-rooted, so keep that in mind when the temperatures soar, and don't rely on the rain to do all the watering work.

Planting: Start new plants in spring after the last frost. They do best in dappled light with some protection from the wind. That splash of red color and those reliably green, shiny leaves are a bright spot in any winter garden. Holly can grow successfully across the United States, and there are many more varieties than even most gardeners would expect more than species with berries that can range from dark crimson to yellow [source: Taylor's Guides ].

There are also variegated leaf varieties that can add a bit of the unexpected to your flowerbeds. Holly seems to be a natural for adornment and decoration, too.

The Native Americans, Europeans and Chinese have all used holly sprays and berries in religious and cultural celebrations. Need a nice privacy hedge? Holly is hardy, can make an imposing barrier and is easy to prune.What could be better? Soil: Soil needs can vary, so check with your grower for instructions on the type of holly you're interested in.

The one soil requirement most hollies have in common is that they like acidic soil pH 5. Location: Hardy and adaptable, there's probably a holly that can thrive in your garden no matter where you live.

Be careful if you want it to sprout berries, though. You'll need both male and female plants for that. Paths, walls, stairs and water features are also elements in a winter garden, and they become more dramatic when there are no flashy flower displays to steal the show. If you give your winter landscape a distinctive structure with permanent features that are pleasing to the eye, you create interest with little or no seasonal work.

Planting a fall vegetable crop is just the thing to get you in the mood for a big pot of soup, and there's nothing nicer than being able to dash out to the garden to grab some cabbage or spinach to toss in the pot. Without a cold frame or greenhouse, you can grow winter vegetables until the first hard frost, and that's often long enough to bring in a sizeable harvest. A good strategy is to identify the approximate date when you can expect the first killing frost in your area, and count backward the number of days needed for your vegetables to fully mature.

Use that date as your planting date. Most plant seed packets will give dates to maturity that will help you put together a schedule. You'll probably have fewer problems with pests in your fall vegetable patch, and if you have a long fall season, you may be able to plant successive autumn crops. Each winter vegetable is different in shape, size, color and zone to grow. Need to buy a little more time to get the best yield from your vegetable patch? Plant near a south-facing wall or other windbreak and take advantage of the protection and higher temperatures to extend the growing season by a couple of weeks.

Instead of planting winter vegetables this year, take a year off and help renew the garden by planting cover crops that will return precious nutrients to the soil. Try alfalfa, red clover, vetch or winter rape.

One wonderful thing about this unassuming little plant is that it will survive even an extended snow event, waiting dormant for conditions to improve.

The small, white, bell-shaped flowers of the snowdrop are suspended from short, delicate stems, and although traditional varieties grow only to six inches or so 15 cm , newer hybrids can reach to up to 10 inches 25 cm. Water : Keep snowdrops uniformly moist. Don't make the mistake of letting them go dry in hot weather. Location: With the exception of the giant snowdrop, these little beauties don't fare very well in warm weather areas. They need a cold winter in order to really shine.

Planting: Snowdrops do best in a sheltered spots. Start bulbs or divide offsets in spring after the last frost. Even shrubs that don't have showy flowers can make a contribution to the winter garden. Holly isn't the only plant that can brighten the landscape with some unexpected dots of color.

And a dab of color here and there isn't the only advantage winter fruiting plants have in the landscape. Berries feed the birds, too, and in urban areas, winter can be hard on our feathered friends.

For berry interest, try growing: firethorne Pyracantha , chokecherry Prunus virginiana , Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia and chinaberry Melia azedarach.

You'll be doing something good for your garden and the local wildlife. If you're not a bird-watcher yet, consider this: Flowers aren't the only potentially colorful additions to your backyard. If you include winter plants that attract birds to your landscape, the birds themselves can be decorative, either perched on your fence, or providing some ornamental interest to your bare trees. Berry bushes can be short or tall, round or skinny, depending on the variety. Each will come with its own set of rules on soil, watering guidelines, planting parameters and zones.

Do your research to make sure your berry bush blossoms. A winter garden isn't cluttered with lots of distracting green foliage, so unique textures and shapes can take center stage. In winter, deciduous trees reveal their basic design and structure, and that can be as beautiful as their fall display of color. Do you have a tree with interesting bark or unusual branches, like a crape myrtle or paperbark maple? Make it a focal point by adding a birdhouse nearby, or planting hellebores near the trunk.

A native of Southeast Asia, crape myrtle is a beauty that's destined for greatness in any garden. A favorite in the South, crape myrtle has distinctive gray-brown bark that peels in patches along the branches and trunk, giving it an interesting multi-hued appearance in winter.

Planting: Crape myrtle likes full sun in a protected location.Plant away from irrigation, as it's sensitive to dissolved salts in the soil.

If you want to add some whimsy to your winter garden, try including a topiary. Topiaries are sculpted evergreen shrubs that can take almost any shape, from your favorite Disney character, to majestic pillars bordering your front walkway.

And you don't need to be Edward Scissorhands to keep them looking well groomed. In fall, the bright green, heart-shaped leaves begin to change color, turning shades of bronze, mauve and purple. Sun: Bergenias like good light with some shade protection during the hottest part of the afternoon. Planting: Plant in spring or fall. Bergenias also profit from mulching twice a year.

They will tolerate quite a bit of abuse as long as they are kept moist. Divide plants every three or four years to keep them vigorous. One of the most remarkable things about early blooming plants like crocus, snowdrops and hellebores is that they can take you by surprise. When you least expect it, a streak of color will appear from under the cold, hard soil or break through a crust of snow. Forcing is a method of bringing these plants into bloom prematurely so that they can be enjoyed indoors as houseplants before they would appear outdoors naturally.

Common witch hazel is a deciduous shrub with a long herbal and folk pedigree. Used both as an astringent and as one of the preferred woods for making dousing rods, witch hazel has useful applications in the garden and out.

It's a popular understory shrub , or small tree, that can reach 20 feet in height 6. It makes a good screening or border plant, and it produces bunches of fragrant, yellow, narrow-petalled flowers in late fall or early winter.

Top 10 Winter Plants

Fall and winter months are some of the best times of the year to plant a tree. However, the answer to "can you plant trees in winter? A good rule of thumb is that if the trees in your area still have leaves, you can plant new trees. Mid-August to mid-October is an ideal time of year to plant new trees, though, that time frame can be stretched into November and December. Those are the trees that shed leaves before for winter. Because of this, they focus only on growing and providing water to their roots in winter. On the other hand, evergreen trees—like pine and spruce—hold onto their needles year-round.

Look for vacant spaces and sheltered areas in your landscape. An annual flower or vegetable garden, newly established planting bed or one earmarked for.

Care of Ornamental Plants in the Landscape

Start protecting your landscape plants from winter damage with an anti-desiccant spray! Winter damage to evergreen trees and shrubs is caused by desiccation or drying out. Once the ground freezes plant roots are unable to take up water from the soil. Plants are then forced to use the water stored in their needles, leaves, and stems. Harsh cold dry winter winds and freezing temps will also dry out the water that plants need to survive. This loss of essential plant moisture leads to winter plant damage or even death. An anti-desiccant spray professionally applied to evergreen trees and shrubs will help hold in this vital moisture throughout the winter. If you have problems with winter plant damage in your landscape the experts at 1. Lawntec suggests spraying an anti-desiccant. Anti-desiccants sprays can also be called antitranspirant spray, winter wilt proofing spray, or winter protection spray.

Remind clients that plants still need water even in the winter

During the winter, it can be tempting to want to stay indoors until springtime returns. However, customers should be reminded of the importance of winter watering during this chilly season. While water usage in broadleaf trees drops during this season, it never completely stops and evergreen trees transpire more water in the winter, making them more prone to winter drying. Just like how your skin dries out during the low-humidity conditions of winter, plant roots also run the risk of drying out. The damage happens most often during warm, dry windy days and the side of tree facing the wind faces the most damage.

Winter can wreak havoc on lawns, particularly in regions of the country that experience snow and ice.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Here comes another cold snap for the Puget Sound! And here are some quick tips for protecting your less-hardy plants from cold damage. Especially a good idea when temperatures dip into the 20s for several days. Look for predicted temperatures in your neighborhood, not just the regional airport. But always assume colder — better safe than sorry. Plants for Zone 8b, 9 or warmer might need protection when we freeze.

Pruning Landscape Plants

When planting new plants, one of the most important things to do is making sure the plants get enough water.Young plants are not able to access water in the soil as easily until their roots begin to grow. Because of that, new plants require more water than plants already established. The top 2 inches of the soil should be dry out in between watering. Continue to do this throughout the rest of the year. You can adjust how often based on the weather conditions.

Winter has arrived. Your landscape has entered a state of dormancy, it still gets parched. Keep your plants alive with some winter watering tips.

Pruning Plants with a Purpose

White-tailed deer were remarkably destructive in many gardens and landscapes over the past winter, feeding heavily on trees and shrubs. Favorite winter food sources, such as arborvitae and rhododendron, and relatively deer resistant plants like holly, suffered from deer browse. In many cases, even proximity to a house was not enough to deter hungry deer. Although deer damage is incredibly frustrating, there are steps you can take to repair damaged plants and prevent deer from becoming a nuisance again in the future.

Container maintenance

RELATED VIDEO: The Essential Winter Care Indoor Plant Guide - 8 Steps to Take NOW

Pruning is one of the least understood practices of landscape maintenance. Before trying to prune your landscape shrubs and trees, consider the basic principles of pruning. Review the following considerations before starting to prune your landscape plants. How to prune depends on the plant type. Most woody landscape plants can be put in one of these categories: broadleaf evergreens, narrowleaf evergreens, or deciduous plants. Each type has specific responses to pruning.

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Mulching is the best way to protect plants during cold weather

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Fortunate are gardeners in mild-winter regions, where container gardening is a year-round pleasure without the threat of shattered pots and frozen plants familiar to many of us. Compared with their garden-grown counterparts, container-grown plants are at a severe disadvantage when cold weather arrives. Though hardy plants have developed foliage, stems, and branches that can withstand very low temperatures, their roots are far more sensitive and vulnerable to freezing.