Winter can be a fickle season in the Pacific NorthWest. You can get a foot of snow dropped on your head on Friday and have it all melted by Tuesday.
That means your front yard landscaping must have adaptability for these changing circumstances. With a generalized USDA plant hardiness zone of 8, the climate offers similarities to central Texas.
The coastal benefits also bring salinity issues to some properties that must be considered. That’s why it is often helpful to work with a professional landscaper familiar with these unique challenges.
If you’re ready to get to work now, here are some landscaping tips for colder weather to help you get started.
Easy Winter Landscaping Tips to Implement Right Now
1. Watch out for the plant’s color.
By the time you reach the late winter, you’ll know what will keep its color in your yard. You’ll want to trim the bushes, shrubs, and other plants judiciously, looking for rogue branches that detract from the shape you want. If you see buds on the stems, leave them because that’s where the flowers will form in the spring.
If you’re unsure of where to trim, it is better to leave the plant alone. When you prune too much during the winter, an unexpected freeze could create life-threatening results.
2. Take care of any torn branches or limbs.
Most winters in the PNW deliver one significant windstorm. The old trees that stand guard shed some branches as they sway, leading to torn and cut limbs that require some assistance. Heavy snow and ice can also cause this problem.
If you take care of trimming these branches early, your landscaping will have more sturdiness to it for the late winter months. It helps to look for a nodule for this work, trimming about a quarter-inch above the “knuckle” on an angle.
You’ll want to examine the live branches to see if the wind would push them into the bark, trunk, or primary plant stems. If it would, you’ll want to trim them to stop that issue so that it promotes a healthier growing season in the spring.
3. Get to the clean ground.
Weeds are problematic in the late winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Not only do they continue to grow until a freeze happens, but they also cause disease potential and decay. If you don’t clean them out in the late winter, you’ll have an invasive problem to manage when spring arrives.
After you get to the clean ground, it helps to mulch around sensitive plants that might not like the cold weather. Depending on what you have in your yard, anywhere from two inches to four inches is a suitable thickness.
You can also let the clean ground serve as a visual contrast during the winter, making your yard look neat and groomed.
4. Create your edges.
Unless your goal is to produce an informal look for your property, the late winter is the perfect time to start edging your landscaping. Since most lawns continue growing here all year, the grass continues to creep toward flower beds, driveways, and sidewalks. This tip lets you build a root barrier that contains everything, creating a manicured appearance.
Please don’t stop at the lawn with your edging work! While you’ve got the tools out there, give your flower and garden beds a touch-up if the ground isn’t frozen. If you do get a freezing event, you’ll still have a solid start to your spring planting efforts.
5. Mound the base of the plants.
It helps to place a dirt or mulch mound around the primary trunk, stems, and bulbs during the late winter months to protect plants from fluctuating temperatures. If you take this step, it is best to compact the soil and organic materials with firm hand presses. By getting some of the air out, you’ll create a cleaner look without disrupting the insulating factors you’re adding.
Trees can benefit from this technique, especially if they’re only a couple of years old. Once they are established, some mulch or new soil around the trunk can help them thrive during the winter.
6. Only wrap the plants when it is necessary.
The late winter months can make the plants feel like spring is coming, creating new growth that causes your landscaping to come alive. If a hard freeze happens, your plants might not survive. Although some people wrap everything for the entire winter, it’s usually better to protect against the wind or heavy snow when you know they’re coming. If the forecast offers a freeze, protect the new growth with landscaping fabric or fiber.
Winter landscaping tips in the Pacific NW take into account the weather’s unpredictability. If you need help with your landscaping, let us know so that we can help your yard look beautiful all year long! If you have any questions related to Pacific NW landscaping, feel free to call us at 425-549-5147. For more information about our landscaping and construction services, visit www.bearcreeklandscaping.com or stay connected with us by following our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bclandscaping1.