During the winter, ornamental plant care in northern Utah involves taking steps to prevent frost and freeze damage. Ornamentals are exposed to a variety of cold weather-related risks, many of which can be easily prevented. Sometimes, however, despite your best efforts, damage can occur. If your plants make it through the winter, you can take some steps to restore them to health again in the spring.
Types of Cold Weather Plant Damage
Ornamental plant species are subject to different kinds of damage than most trees. Like trees, however, the more established the plant, the more ability it has to resist cold weather damage. Both low temperatures and snow can cause problems, but it’s often the combination of the two that imparts the greatest damage, especially if wind enters the mix. Desiccation, essentially a form of drought stress, can occur in the winter as well as the summer, if plants are unable to draw water from the soil. Local fauna is another significant risk to plants during the winter months. If your yard is accessible, you may find deer or other animals snacking on your plants, especially during those years in which the winter is unusually harsh. Unfortunately, animals can remove those portions of the plant that protect it, exposing it to extensive damage.
How to Prevent Winter Damage to Plants
Many preventive steps are taken in the fall, before the first freeze, include adding layers of mulch and doing some late-year watering. Once the heart of winter has arrived, however, prevention starts with keeping snow off the plants, to the greatest extent possible. Keeping plants covered and providing some type of windbreak or other wind protection will also help. Finally, to prevent damage from animals, fencing off your ornamentals will provide the greatest level of protection. Hungry deer are perfectly capable of doing away with many coverings and are often undaunted by the usual repellant products. Using several layers of thick plastic or burlap may be effective, but any plant that animals can get to is vulnerable.
Overcoming Cold Weather Damage to Plants
Once all chance for frost or freezing has passed, you can safely prune damaged plants. Take a conservative approach to this process, however, gradually cutting back the dead stems or branches until you reach green sections. Use a good multi-purpose fertilizer, and water plants deeply as soon as the soil thaws. Be careful not to give up too soon on a plant that you may assume is dead. In many cases, especially if the plant has been in place for a year or more, it will eventually regenerate from the root system.
All Green Pest Control and Lawn Care can help you care for your trees, plants and landscaping all year long. Their experience and expertise can help keep your yard healthy through all of northern Utah’s weather extremes. For advice on your landscaping care, contact them today.