Preparing for Winter: Winterizing Your Georgia Landscape

rock landscaping with trees and yellow flowers in front of brick house and green grass yard

With winter just around the corner, it is time to starting planning on winterizing your landscape. Many elements of your landscape may be susceptible to damage from cold temperatures. Take some time this fall to put together a winter landscape plan. By doing so, you will not only keep your yard looking great but also be ready for next season. Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces share some tips on winterizing your Georgia landscape.

Winterizing Your Landscape

Things You Should Do When Winterizing Your Landscape:

Check the soil.

Take time to check the soil around any plants to ensure there is plenty of residual moisture. If the soil is dry, then deeply watering them is recommended before freezing temperatures arrive. This will help keep the plants healthy.

Add an extra layer of protection to plants.

Not every plant needs to be protected from cold temperatures. But perennials, new plants, and certain trees and shrubs will benefit from extra protection. We recommend adding two to four inches of straw, pine needs, compost, mulch, or other natural items near the base (not touching) of the plant. This will help protect the root system from damage.

Apply lime juice to the soil.

This will help adjust the pH of your soil to be more alkaline. More alkaline soil results in a healthier more verdant lawn for next year.

Clean up acorns.

If you have oak trees, fall is the best time to get rid of the acorns that can cover a yard. Doing so prevents acorns from becoming embedded in the soil and eliminates the risk of trees sprouting up where you don’t want them.

Cut back weak or dead limbs.

Now is the best time to clean up any dead or damaged tree limbs. During winter weather, ice can form on tree limbs. This makes the limbs much heavier and increases the chance they will break. Falling limbs are one of the biggest reasons damage occurs during winter weather. Dead tree limbs are weaker than healthy ones and are much more likely to break. Clean these up from your yard to help protect your home from damage.

Prepare for ice or snow.

While Georgia doesn’t get the amount of snow or ice that our neighbors to the North get, we still experience freezing conditions on occasion. If ice or snow is in the upcoming forecast, find some materials to wrap around the base vulnerable plants. The most common options are old sheets, canvas, or burlap. Make sure to anchor the material down with something heavy like rocks to prevent it from blowing away.

Apply an anti-desiccant to conifers and rhododendrons.

Winter weather conditions can cause the soil to become extremely dry. When the ground freezes, plants can’t absorb water. When this happens, plants use up the water stored within itself. This causes extensive damage to the plants. Applying anti-desiccant to these plants will keep winter wind and weather from drawing moisture away from the plants. Healthy levels of moisture in the soil are crucial for keeping plants healthy.

Things Not to Do Before Winter:

Do not add fertilizer late in the season.

Adding fertilizer too late in the season will promote new growth that winter weather will damage. Save the fertilizer until early spring for the best results.

Avoid pruning trees or evergreen shrubs.

Pruning back healthy limbs or shrubs will encourage growth. This new growth cannot be sustained during the winter. Wait to prune trees and shrubs until spring. This will help to encourage more growth in the best conditions.

Winterizing your landscape can be done during a weekend project. Taking these steps will help protect your landscape and prepare it for spring. Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces can help winterize your Georgia landscape. We can even start planning your outdoor spring makeover now! Contact our landscaping and landscape design experts today for all your outdoor needs.