Winter Landscape Maintenance

Quick Tips

  • Uncover plants weighted down with heavy snow.
  • Keep salt away from plants and lawn.
  • Prune trees and shrubs in winter, on a dry and mild day

Follow these simple steps to keep your landscape healthy this winter.

Protect your Landscape

• Avoid walking on your lawn it if it is dormant or frozen.
• Uncover plants weighted down with heavy snow. Gently brush off branches to prevent breakage. If frozen, let snow melt naturally.
• Protect multi-stemmed evergreens, such as arborvitae, junipers, and yews, from winter storm damage by tying trunks together with old nylons or cotton twine.

Keep Salt Away from Plants and Lawn

• The greenest alternative is simply keeping your walkway clear and shoveling as quickly as you can.
• Scatter sand, kitty litter, or birdseed for traction.

Winter Pruning

• The best time to prune deciduous plants is just prior to new growth when plants are dormant.  It’s also easier to see the shape when their foliage is gone.
• Prune on a mild, dry day.
• Limit pruning to 30% or less in one growing season, and avoid shearing branches that can lead to poor structure and pest problems.
• Clean from the inside out, removing waterspouts, suckers, dead, or crossing branches.
• Water sprouts occur along branches, usually at pruning sites. Suckers grow from the trunk or roots.
• Prune out one of a pair of crossing or rubbing branches. This eliminates rubbing that creates an open wound that can attract insects.
• When pruning dead or diseased branches, make cuts into healthy wood, well below the affected area, above a healthy bud, back to an adjoining branch or flush with the branch bark collar.
• Disinfect tools between each cut with products such as "Lysol," "Listerine," or rubbing alcohol.

For more pruning information: A Guide to Successful Pruning, by Virginia Tech