It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Louisiana, and ‘tis the season to prepare your landscape for frost, potential snow, and dropping temperatures. There’s a whole lot of winter to prepare for, so that means you need to start thinking about how you’ll protect your landscape from the elements. The first freeze is far too late to begin implementing your winterization plan. Now is the time to get started! In this blog, our Livingston Parish lawn care experts are sharing the five most important things for Louisianans to do to prepare their yards for winter.
To make a plan to prepare your lawn for the cold months, it’s important to understand why you’re doing it at all. In laymans terms, winterizing is preparing your lawn, plants, and ornamentals for cold weather. It keeps your yard healthy in the off-season so that it can spring back healthy and colorful come spring. This process is especially important if you have select, beautiful flowers and shrubs in your garden. It protects unusual plants that might not grow naturally in your yard from freezing or severely cold weather.
Around mid-December, you may notice that your lawn is turning brown. Don’t fret, it’s just going dormant until the next growing season. But you’ll save your nerves if you’ve given it everything necessary for a productive, safe pause in its growth. Fertilization in the winter is essential to toughen grass roots against freezes much like antifreeze protects car radiators. Formulas that amp up the potassium (K) are crucial. This doesn’t mean you can purchase any fertilizer with the term ‘winterizer’ on the bag. Many of these are formulated for the cool-season grasses of northern states, which would cause plant-softening in the south. Purchase an appropriate southern type winterizer for your warm-season grass.
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for grass growth, but go easy on it before winter. Slowly reducing nitrogen slows growth, allowing grass roots to strengthen. This leaves an ample supply of carbohydrate storage to be tapped into during spring green-up. Better yet, less nitrogen reduces the risk of brown patch disease in Louisiana, which is prevalent in October, November, and December. Check with professionals at your local lawn and garden store, or consult with a lawn care service to make sure you’re providing the right mix of nutrients for winter protection.
Louisiana may not be an arctic tundra, but the mild winter weather is just enough to take some tender plants down. Bring any tropical and semi-tropical plants like gingers, hibiscus, and Louisiana reds indoors. It only takes one night of below-freezing weather for these plants to kick the bucket. Avoid bringing in bugs by spraying them with horticultural oil first. All you need to do for winter maintenance is water and place them in ample light.
Clipping, pruning, trimming, and removing dead plants, bulbs, and branches is key to winter preparation. These tasks help minimize breakage and prevent disease, making plants healthier throughout the winter months. Cutting back dry stem and removing unhealthy garden plants will reduce the risk that pest eggs and disease spores will linger. For special trees and shrubs in your landscape, be sure to research what method of winterization is appropriate. For instance, fruit trees rely heavily on insulation to protect the roots. Mulch around the base can be a good option.
In recent years in the south, there’s been no such thing as a predictable winter. But patterns have helped established a plan of action for winterizing Louisiana landscapes. Each of these steps is an essential part of preparing your yard for an easier transition into and back out of winter dormancy!Request your free quote today!