Winter-proofing commercial landscapes is a must to effectively transition their landscapes during the winter months. The professionals at Apex Landscaping, a premiere commercial landscaping service, understand this transition. Located in Lake County, IL, they are here to guide you through it. This guide will give you the knowledge and tools to prepare for the harsh winter months.
Why Winter-Proofing is Non-Negotiable
With cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, winter can wreak havoc on commercial landscapes. Not preparing for this season can lead to significant property damage. It can also lead to accessibility issues and even impact business operations. It’s not about aesthetics; safety is a major concern as well. Unhealthy trees can become a danger with snow and ice. It can cause property damage and safety risks.
Moreover, the winter season is crucial for the growth and development of your landscape’s vegetation. Trees, shrubs, turf, and perennials use this time to develop their root systems. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, they are successful. With proper care before winter, these plants can prepare for the upcoming spring season.
So, how can you ensure your landscape is winter-ready? Here are some effective strategies and best practices to follow.
Assessing Your Trees’ Health Before Winter-Proofing Commercial Landscapes
The first step in winter landscape prep is assessing the health of your trees. A professional landscaping service can inspect them for any damaged or weakened limbs. Pruning these unsafe branches can reduce safety risks on your property.
Late fall and early winter are ideal for dormant pruning. The entire tree structure is visible, facilitating better inspection and branch access. If necessary, weak branches or limbs can be braced or cabled. This will prevent damage from high winds or the weight of heavy snow and ice.
Fall is also an excellent time to check for heavy mulch and leaves around your trees. Those can choke the roots if left unchecked. It’s also an opportune time to transplant or plant new trees. The cooler temperatures allow the trees to take root in their new locations and become secure before spring’s arrival.
Turf Care for the Dormant Season
The next task in winter landscape preparation involves seasonal lawn care. Fall is the perfect time for aerating your turf. This process involves pulling small soil plugs from your turf. It allows air and moisture to penetrate deep into the soil. This alleviates soil compaction and helps your turf develop stronger roots. This, in turn, makes it more resistant to harsh environmental conditions.
Fall is an essential time for the final fertilization before the winter season. This step helps create a nutrient-rich soil environment for your turf. Overseeing is a process that involves spreading new grass seeds over existing turf. This is another task that pairs well with aeration. The aeration holes provide the best seed-to-soil contact. This promotes successful germination and grass growth.
Besides tree pruning, you’ll also want to prune your shrubs and perennials in late fall. This step helps clean up their appearance going into winter. It enhances the overall aesthetics of your commercial landscape.
Cutting back perennials after the first few frosts helps the plants focus on root development. This is a key step in ensuring they come back strong in spring.
Irrigation System: Inspection and Maintenance
Water plays an essential role in plant care during the hot summer months. Once fall arrives and temperatures cool off, it’s time to inspect and maintain your commercial irrigation system.
In colder regions, you’ll need to prepare your irrigation system for winter to prevent freezing irrigation lines that can burst and cause damage. You’ll want to adjust your water usage to match your plants’ winter water requirements in warmer areas.
Starting early is your best bet to avoid potential damage when preparing your landscape for snow and ice. Place snow stakes near the curb and driveway edges. This helps guide snowplow drivers on your property. Doing this before the snow falls ensures proper placement.
Also, early fall is the perfect time to start thinking about a snow and ice management contract that fits your needs and budget. This way, you’re ready no matter what kind of season Old Man Winter delivers.
Shrub Deep Pruning: A Winter Task
During the cooler months, deep pruning of certain shrubs allows them to thin out and reduce size. This sets them up for healthy growth in spring and summer. Deep pruning helps reduce the trimming needed in the growing season. It also assists in efficiently caring for your entire property.
Fertilization: A Winter-Specific Approach
Colder weather requires different fertilizer formulations. These ensure plants get the proper nutrients they need in cooler temperatures. Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied where appropriate to help reduce weed growth.
Rain Preparation: A Key Aspect of Winter-Proofing Commercial Landscape Maintenance
In addition to cold weather preparation, preparing your property’s landscape for rain is important. Routine checks and monitoring of all landscape drains and brown ditches, along with debris cleanup where necessary, prevent flooding and storm damage.
Irrigation Modifications for Winter
As winter sets, irrigation run times must be reduced to match the shorter days. Most, if not all, controllers should be off by this time. Rain and weather sensors connected to your smart irrigation controllers must be checked to ensure they are working. During heavy or ongoing rain periods, turn off irrigation systems. The soil moisture should also be monitored. The systems can be reactivated when appropriate.
Tree Trimming for Winter-Proofing Commercial Landscapes
Winter is also a great time to address tree trimming concerns to prevent damage caused by winter storms. A professional landscaping service can check trees on your property and coordinate necessary tree trimming services.
Despite the cold weather and slow plant growth, you can do a lot in your property’s landscape during winter. Even though the rains can make it challenging to be productive, dedicated crews and managers are there to care for your property year-round. By winter-proofing your commercial landscape, you can save yourself from potential headaches later. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine!