Planning for the long winter ahead can seem like a daunting task.  Unless you are an outdoors-man (or woman)  you may feel like the winter offers nothing but cold temperatures, heavy snow and biting wind.  At least we can cozy up in our heated  homes with comfort food and warm clothing.  Your landscaping, like trees and bushes, have no choice but to survive the harsh New England winter outside in the elements.  What, then can you do to prevent or minimize problems that could occur over the winter?

Fall is a great time to inspect and plan for the health of your trees, bushes and shrubbery that adorn your property.  In addition to the usual raking, cleaning of gardens and flower beds, and preparing for winter,  experts suggest that homeowners consider the following tips for bushes and trees.

  • Watering – Before the ground finally freezes consider giving your bushes, trees and shrubbery one final watering.  Watering trees and shrubs before they go totally dormant can help them better tolerate winter conditions.  Winter winds can make the needles and foliage dry out further and turn brown.
  • Barriers – Winter poses many risks including wind and heavy snow.  Barriers made of wood, burlap or plastic can protect branches from breaking or suffering harm from the winter conditions.
  • Alerts – It is common for snow plows and even hand pushed blowers to cause damage to bushes by piling snow on top.  Many homeowners find it helpful to use alerting sticks in orange or red to show how far snow can be thrown before its weight will injure the trees and bushes in the area.
  • A word on salt – Winter de-icers like salts can do irreparable damage to bushes and trees if too much gets into the soil.  Consider throwing snow into an area without shrubbery or risk the shrubs having a salt burns of trouble growing in the spring.
  • Rabbits and other critters – If rabbits are a big problem in your area, winter care of trees and shrubs should include putting chicken wire cages around the plants they find most tasty.