Ward Off Winter Landscape Damage
Winter is here. We haven't hit freezing just yet, but why wait until then to learn how to protect what's growing on your property from the sometimes dangerous cold nights in Central Florida.
Count on cloth
The first and most useful thing to do is cover plants and shrubs with cloth or burlap. Old sheets work great; but, don't use anything plastic. Here's what can happen, moisture forms on vinyl and causes condensation on leaves. It may seem hard to believe, but that water can burn onto the leaves of frigid greenery. Also, plastic doesn't have any holes, which makes it difficult for the plant to breathe, and this can cause the temperature under the plastic cover to be colder than the air temperature. You're better off not covering a plant than wrapping it in plastic in most cases.
When you're picking a cloth to use, make sure it's big enough to cover the plant all the way to the ground. This technique will help keep the soil warm; put a few bricks at the bottom of the cover should keep it in place. And do your best not to have the cover rest on leaves. The cloth can cause foliage to turn brown.
If you have a favorite tree or plant, take your protection to the next level by running a lamp under the cover.
Big trees need love too
There are some trees and plants that are too big to cover. The best thing to do to protect them is to wrap the trunk with a cloth or even newspaper. Bigger plants tend to handle the cold better than small ones, but also, the big ones could use a little help on our coldest nights.
The following day, take all your covers off as soon as possible. Plants and trees need all the fresh air and sun they can get while fighting the weather. Then give them water; watering early in the day warms the soil.
Eat, sleep, cover and repeat
Prepare yourself to repeat the covering and watering of your plants for as long as the cold temperatures are in the forecast. We know it's a lot of work, but our 'harsh' winters don't usually last more than a few days.
One more tip, if you notice that a branch or two didn't survive the cold, leave it right there. The dead limbs will help the rest of the plant survive the rest of the season.
We know winter is challenging; however, at least it's short. Remember to have your cloth covers, bricks, and water can ready for the next couple of months, also. Put the pruners away until spring, when it's time to cut dead limbs.
Here's to your favorite trees and plants lasting through another winter.
If you would like some help preparing your property or designing a new hardy landscape, give us a call, ELT Landscape would love to help.