It’s hard to imagine going outside to work on your landscape during the winter. However, you can work on your property during the cold winter months when there is a warm stretch of weather.
10 Tips to Keep Your Thumb Green in Wintertime
If you enjoy working in your landscaping in Alexandria, VA, you can get a head start on spring planting using the following 10 tips:
- Remove snow from your trees and shrubs
When a Nor-easter starts barreling up the coast, you can be sure that the snow will be heavy. Take a broom and brush the snow off trees and shrubs.
Don’t whack off any ice on tree limbs because you’ll injure your woody plants. Instead, let ice melt off naturally.
If a limb was torn from the tree during a winter storm, cut it entirely after the snowstorm. Allowing a broken limb to stay on the tree can cause more damage.
- Clean your gardening tools
Winter is the best time to sharpen your lawn mower blades and your gardening tools. If you love to work in your landscaped areas, your gardening tools must also be cleaned.
Many garden experts recommend cleaning your gardening tools with bleach and water to kill pathogens. Remember to also sharpen your gardening tools before spring planting.
- Get creative with spring bulbs
Did you forget to plant spring bulbs this fall? If you did, no worries. You can still grow them during the winter.
Here’s how to plant spring bulbs in winter:
- Put your bulbs in peat pots and put the pots on flats
- Bury the flats under a thick leaf pile outside
- When the ground thaws out, look at your planting design and get those buried bulbs in the right spot in your garden design.
Also, check your summer bulbs to ensure they aren’t rotten or dried out. If you have dried-out, rotten bulbs, throw them away.
- Prune your landscape’s deciduous trees and shrubs
Wintertime is optimal for pruning your trees and shrubs because you have the entire woody plant leaves to guide you in your pruning decisions.
Remember this rule of thumb: Less is more when pruning your deciduous trees and shrubs. And if you’re not sure which branches should stay and which should go, contact your local landscaping company to prune your deciduous woody plants.
- Start a garden journal
A garden journal is a fun way to track what you planted where and how your planting design worked the previous year.
You can use a garden journal to write down your garden successes and areas of improvement. Put your garden design inside your journal and refer to it when adding new plants or a garden bed to your landscaping in Alexandria, VA.
- Test your seed collection
Do you have any leftover seeds from last year? You can test older seed packets (even expired ones) by wetting a paper towel, sprinkling some seeds, and rolling them up.
For the next week, keep the seeded paper towel warm and moist. Seven days later, open it up to see if any seeds sprouted. If less than half the seeds sprouted, throw away those seeds and buy new ones.
- Feed the birds
Don’t forget to feed the birds during the winter. And if you have a backyard patio, consider putting up a bird feeder and hanging a suet cake on a shepherd’s crook so you can watch your feathered friends feast all winter.
- Clean out your garden beds
If you enjoy working out in the garden, get a head start by cleaning your beds. Divide perennials, rake out leaves, and loosen mulch.
- Start a cold frame garden or use row covers
If you want to be adventurous and start your vegetable garden early in the season, consider cold-frame gardening. In a cold frame, you can plant lettuces, spinach, carrots, parsnips, and strawberries.
You can also use row covers to start cover crops. Visit your local garden center to buy supplies and ask questions about cold-frame gardening and using row covers.
- Force spring blooms inside
Need some garden blooms to brighten up your house? Then, you can force pussy willow, quince, crabapple, forsythia, pear, and cherry blossoms.
It takes patience to force early blooms indoors. Here’s how to cause indoor blooming:
- Wait until the buds are set, which is in late winter
- Put stems in a vase with water
- Change the water every four days
- Have patience; it takes three weeks for early bloomers to blossom indoors.
Contact Campbell & Ferrara for All of Your Landscaping Needs
If you’re ready to experiment with the 10 winter landscape tips, contact us at Campbell and Ferrara to help you with pruning, or visit our garden center for all your gardening supplies. Call us today at 703-705-7892 or fill out our contact form.
Campbell and Ferrara provides landscape design/build services and a retail garden center for homeowners living in Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Mount Vernon, and Springfield, Virginia.
LewisGinter.org, 10 Tips for Gardening in Winter.