SOURCE: PLANET, The National Landscape Industry Association

PLANET, The National Landscape Industry Association

August 27, 2013 08:28 ET

How to Prepare Your Lawn and Landscape for an Unpredictable Winter Weather Season

National Landscape Industry Association Offers Tips to Protect Plants, Trees and Shrubs and Handle Year-Round Tick Problem

HERNDON, VA--(Marketwired - Aug 27, 2013) - Will winter be a long stretch of snow, ice and freezing temperatures, or will it be unseasonably dry and warm? Homeowners often ask members of PLANET, the national landscape industry association, how they should prepare in the fall for hard to predict winter weather.

Homeowners and other property owners can best prepare their lawn and landscape in the fall for either a winter full of cozy sweaters and hot cocoa, or one with unseasonably warm temperatures and Bermuda shorts by doing the following:

  • Place Protective Fencing Around Vulnerable Plants - Protective fencing can keep salt and melting agents from severely damaging evergreen plant material and groundcovers. This same strategy can be used during a mild winter to help prevent damage to valuable specimen plants from dog urine, deer grazing or other animal activity.

  • Cover Plants with Frost Protection - Some parts of the country are used to mild winters, but then a sudden frost comes along and damages annuals, perennials and temperature sensitive trees and shrubs. Be ready to cover plants with frost protection fabric, especially at night, removing the cover as soon as it begins to warm up again.

  • Prune in the Dormant Season - Work with a landscape firm or a certified arborist to thin out larger shade trees and other shrub material. This will allow heavy snow loads to easily fall through. If there is no snow or ice, dormant pruning helps maintain a desired growth habit and remove crossing or rubbing branches.

  • Apply Mulch - Installing mulch in the fall is very beneficial in protecting the roots of plant material from extreme low temperatures in the winter months and also helps to preserve moisture if the region does not receive enough moisture and/or snowfall.

  • Use Pulverized Topsoil to Protect Sensitive Plants - Certain perennial plant material requires mounding of compost to protect the crown of the plant and prevent substantial winter dieback. Use pulverized topsoil, if possible, as it does not hold too much moisture and cause root rot at the base of the plants if there is a warm, wet winter.

  • Watch for Insects on Plants - If winter is mild, insects may continue to feed on your plants longer and even get another generation in. If you see a lot of insects moving around on the plants, identify them and apply the appropriate horticultural soaps or insecticides.

  • Keep Ticks and Fleas at Bay - Ticks and fleas have become a year-round problem in many areas of the country. A well-kept lawn is one way to minimize ticks, since lawns create a buffer between the home and the woods. A mild winter is a good time to have a landscape professional evaluate the property, determine where ticks may hide and recommend strategies for control.

Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease strikes about 300,000 people each year, ten times more people than previously thought.

For more fall and winter tips, visit

To find a certified landscape professional, search for one in your area at

PLANET, the National Landscape Industry Association, represents more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices, and business professionalism. Many of PLANET's professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge.

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