Often times the cooler weather gives us the feeling that we should be working inside instead of attending to our landscape. On the coldest days, this certainly makes sense, but there are a number of things that can and should be done now in the landscape to get them ready for the spring flush.
You can still get away with transplanting small trees and shrubs. I have successfully transplanted many trees and shrubs all the way through early spring. The key is to not attempt this when the ground is too moist or soggy and to prepare the planting hole as well as possible. Transplant as much of the original root ball as possible to cut down on transplant shock.
Begin now to prune shrubs and trees to shape them and remove dead wood. Remember to not prune spring flowering shrubs until after they have completed blooming.
Now is a good time to do some general maintenance around the flowerbeds. Remove any existing dead foliage from the annuals and perennials in the landscape. Be sure to mark the spots of perennial plants so you don’t over plant the area in the spring.
Remove old soggy mulch if it becomes matted and add a few inches of fresh pine straw or pine bark. Look over the lawn for emerged winter annuals and apply the appropriate herbicide if needed.
It is important to water newly planted or transplanted shrubs. Plants will require a good bit of water after the windy days of a cold front. It is also a good time to think back to last year and access our water needs for the future.
You may want to consider grouping plants with similar water needs together — a xeriscape practice.
Winter truly is a great time to get out in the landscape. Doing a few chores now will have our landscapes looking better this spring.
For additional information on lawns and gardens, contact the Dawson County Extension at (706) 265-2442.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.