In the landscape industry, we watch for nighttime temperatures. Oftentimes, we tell clients that they need to winterize their plants and sprinklers even when it’s warm outside, because the nighttime temp will drop to freezing or below.
To winterize plants:
Sod: Apply a winterizer, which can be found in garden centers or big box stores in October. This actually protects the root, which is growing deeper to prepare for dormancy. Fall/winter is also a good time to re-seed any dead spots.
Roses: Some around November install rose collars (available in garden centers); they resemble white turtle necks. Fill them with nondiseased leaves, bark, compost, etc. to protect their graft. The graft is a nub that joins the root ball and the plant. Remove it around Easter and cut back dead canes.
Lilacs: Do not cut them in the fall. Just about all plants can be cut in the fall, but lilacs must be trimmed three to four weeks after blooming. If you cut back now or in the fall, they will not die, but you risk not getting a bloom in the spring.
Fruit trees: Trim them back in the fall/winter. When trimmed while in dormancy, they will not spread a disease called “fire blight,” which can kill fruit trees since they are extremely susceptible.
All plants/sod: If you are experiencing a dry winter, you’ll want to winter water. I like to remind people to water every other Saturday, depending on the amount of moisture, for about 10 to 15 minutes or so.
Irrigation: If nighttime temps are hitting the freezing mark or below, it’s time to do a sprinkler blow out. The backflow (a device that comes out of your house for the sprinklers) can burst, resulting in a geyser. To prevent this eruption, schedule a blow out or winterization of your sprinklers in the fall/winter. A sprinkler company will use an air compressor at the valve box to blow out the excess air in the sprinkler lines. They will also turn off your sprinkler water, drain it, and wrap the back flow. It’s worth doing every fall/winter with a professional sprinkler or landscape company.
We would love to hear how this worked for you. Drop us a comment and share your experience!