How to protect your landscape during winter

How to protect your landscape during winter
Oct 14, 2019

Winter is coming. Northern tier states have already seen frosty nights and some have even been pummeled with several feet of snow. Pretty soon kids will be sledding and skating and throwing snowballs. But bitter cold will soon follow and bring with it ice and temperatures plunging to depths we’d rather not think about. Cold, dark mornings of scraping ice from our car windshields are upon us; along with shoveling and tending best we can to the landscape around our homes.

Winter’s grip is fierce, with the ability to cause all sorts of damage to roads and sidewalks and clog noses and freeze pipes. Winter is also tough on outdoor landscapes and with all the time, effort, and funds you’ve dedicated to making your Sioux Center, Iowa home’s exterior surroundings look great; you want to keep it that way. Patiosoutdoor kitchens, walkways, flower gardens, and shrubbery are all susceptible to winter’s wrath but you can take steps to protect the works and save it from icy doom.

Water before it freezes

To help treasured trees and plants endure a harsh winter, ensure they all receive healthy doses of water before it freezes. Hot summer days might be gone but the soil stays thirsty. Funneling in plenty of water before the soil turns solid is the magic formula; trees, shrubs, and other foliage can still access moisture deep in frozen soil and they need it to emerge strong and healthy in the spring.

Strategic snow piles

Sometime in the fall, channel your inner clairvoyant and picture where you’ll pile snow at your Rock Valley, Iowa property all winter so it doesn’t wreak havoc on your landscaping. Piles of snow on grass, for example, can damage it if left for a long time and it also blocks oxygen from reaching nearby plants. Naturally it’s a bad idea to pile snow right on top of shrubs and the best strategy is to plan ahead and map out where you or a contractor will pile up the white stuff.

Add much mulch

Landscaping mulch is worth its weight in dressing up outdoor landscaping but it also a critical insulator to keep trees and shrubs warm and protected from cold, biting winter winds, ice, and drastic temperature swings. Be sure at least a few inches of mulch cover tree and shrub roots.

Beware the deicer

Traditional deicing material on the market today is bad stuff, poisonous to plants, and terrible for streams and groundwater. Choose a natural deicing alternative and if you must use chemicals, keep them away from plants and wash off any residue from grass and plant leaves.

Care for the little ones

If you planted new trees or shrubs in the warm months, or grow delicate flowers and the like, it’s a good idea to mark the areas prior to snow season to keep track of their locations and avoid damaging the foliage with piles of icy cold snow.

For more information on winter protection of your landscape, contact Outdoor Elements at (712) 476-5299 or