I love the seasons of Colorado – I look forward to the brisk cold of winter as much as I look forward to the pastel colors of spring bulbs; the heat of summer; and the rusty colors of autumn. Winter provides a nice break from yard work, but there are some tasks that should not be ignored.
- WATER! If we haven’t had any natural precipitation for 2-3 weeks, your woody plants will need a drink. My strategy is to put the hose on a trickle and water each tree for 15 minutes, and each shrub for 5 to 10 depending on the size. I use the timer on my phone to help me remember to move the hose. It is especially important to water any trees, shrubs or perennials that you planted this past fall.
- Clean-up. Try to have all of the remaining plant debris cleared up by mid-March. Removing the debris also removes any overwintering pests and diseases. If you need a check-list for fall chores, you can review last month’s blog post.
- Prune. Most deciduous trees and shrubs are best pruned between December and February. When they’re defoliated for the winter, it’s much easier to see broken, crossed or weak branches. It’s also healthier for the plant since disease spores and insects are dormant and not likely to infect the pruning wound. However, some flowering shrubs should not be pruned until after they flower. Check this CSU Extension Fact Sheet for more information about pruning.
- Plan. Now is a great time to plan for next year! Peruse seed catalogs and plan for next year’s garden. If you’re ready for a larger project, I offer landscape design services as well. Due to the labor shortage, landscape contractors are incredibly busy so if you hope to get some work done next spring, the plan needs to be in place by February.