When it comes to pruning trees to encourage new growth, there are only certain times of year when it is ideal to take on this maintenance task. And, one of these times is winter. Here's why. Dormant Pruning trees in winter when they are dormant is a common practice because it leads to more new growth in spring. IF you want to achieve that from your trees, then this is the time to prune them. Doing so supports current and future tree growth. Access In winter, the ground is harder, making it somewhat easier to do the work of pruning. Plus, because the branches are bare, it's easier to see and handle them during the pruning process. Disease Identification Any type of disease a tree may have will be easier to spot and treat during the winter time when the tree is bare. Healing Process By cutting the branches on the tree at the end of winter, the tree can then release the energy it has stored for the fall to heal these areas. Natural Tree Form In winter with the dormancy, the tree can be returned to a more natural form as the pruning helps to better shape the tree's look. Pruning Tips If you are going to prune your own trees, here are some tips we use in our commercial landscaping and maintenance business: Wait until the coldest part of winter has passed. This is because some trees have sap like maple, walnut, and birch, and will bleed that out if pruned then. While it's not harmful to the tree sap to bleed, it may be better to just wait until the coldest temperatures are done for the seasons. Start by removing dead, damaged, and diseased branches, which will help prevent insect and decay organisms from damaging the tree. Look for crossing branches to remove as this could cause further damage to the tree as they rub together. Remove any co-dominant leader branches, which are two branches that are growing near the top of the tree. By cutting off one of these, the other becomes dominant while other branches are not at risk from splitting or tearing during a windy period. If there is a dense canopy, thin this out so the tree can access more air and sunlight to reduce the risk of disease problems. Remove suckers and water sprouts because doing so can provide more food and water for the tree. Also, remove narrow crotches, which appear as a tree ages. Doing so can eliminate other tree damage. If you are not ready to tackle winter tree pruning, then contact us today so we can take care of it for you!
With winter just around the corner and temperatures already starting to drop, it's important to consider how this change in the weather can impact your irrigation system. What can easily happen is that your irrigation system freezes. This can cause pipes to burst and create a lot of problems. To prevent this from happening, there are some steps you can take to prepare your irrigation system and commercial landscape for the freezing weather: 1. Insulate The first step is to shut off the water supply to the irrigation system. The main shut-off valve for your irrigation system needs to be protected against freezing by wrapping it in insulation. The best way to insulate this shut-off valve is with foam insulation tape and a plastic bag. If you don't have one of these valves, this is the time to consider having one. Also, insulate any above-ground irrigation pipes you may have has part of your system. You can use self-sticking foam-insulating tape or foam insulating tubes for these above-ground pipes. 2. Go with Manual If you have an automatic irrigation system, this when you need to turn off the timer and handle it manually. Most controllers have what's called a "rain-mode" that shuts off the signals to the valves. Everything else will work. The only change is the valves will not activate. 3. Drain the Pipes The next step is to drain the pipes that are part of the irrigation system. Any water that remains in the pipes during winter can freeze and expand until it breaks the pipes. There are several ways to drain pipes. You can use a manual drain valve, an automatic drain valve, or the compressed air blow-out method. When it comes to draining your pipes, the best option is to turn to a local irrigation specialist due to the risks involved. We do offer sprinkler winterization services during this time of the year. 4. Protect Valves and Backflow Preventers Finally, you will need to return to some insulation work, including insulating the backflow preventers and valves if they are located above ground. Insulation tape also works well for this task. Just be careful to not block the air vents and drain outlets on the backflow preventers. If it all sounds like a lot of work, then consider letting us handle all of this winterization process for you. Contact us now to learn more about all of our winterization services, including snow and ice treatment.
Although it may not seem like it due to the colder temperatures and changing weather, winter is still a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Here's why. First, plants, trees, and shrubs all store energy during the growing season that they then use in the fall and winter to grow roots. In fact, most root growth occurs during these seasons. Second, the stress levels of trees and shrubs are reduced because of the lack of foliage and the minimal new growth. Third, there is considerably less water that needs to be provided in order to keep these new plantings going. Fourth, pruning is not necessary unless there happens to be a broken branch. By not having to prune, there is less risk that you will damage any part of the tree or shrub that is getting ready to grow in the springtime. To make the most of these winter planting advantages, here are some tips to follow: Mulching is a critical step to take when you are planting trees and shrubs in winter. Mulch provides a way to maintain constant soil temperatures. That way, plants can still grow roots when the soil temperature stays above 45 degrees. By applying a good layer of mulch, you also help to keep soil moisture at a constant level. Use less fertilizer and only a type that is designed to promote root growth while minimizing nutrients for foliage growth. You don't want to stimulate growth. For trees planted in the winter where there is considerable wind, stake the tree to prevent undue stress on the new roots. Of course, if the ground is frozen solid and unworkable, then you'll have to wait. Store unplanted shrubs in a sheltered spot where there is a southern exposure. Add leaves or mulch to keep them insulated. Then, water every few days. When growth starts in early spring, you can prune away any damaged branches and feed with a balanced organic fertilizer. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with winter planting, contact us now!
Now that we are into fall and looking ahead to winter, it's that time of year where temperatures start to decrease and eventually will dip well below freezing. For many plants and flowers, those frigid conditions can lead to damage unless they get an extra layer of protection. That's where mulch comes in as part of regular fall landscape maintenance services. In fact, mulching serves as one of the best blanket covers for things like strawberries, some perennials, and many other types of plants during cold conditions. Winter mulch helps stop soil from either freezing and thawing conditions. It's the repeated freezing and thawing that can force stems, roots, and bulbs/tubers to come out of the ground. Plus, this can severely damage or kill plants. There are different types of mulch to consider. Straw is one type. The benefits are that straw offers good insulation, encourages sufficient air movement, and does not smother plants or flowers. Just one bale of straw can cover 100 square feet to a depth of at least three inches. Other types of winter mulches to consider include bark chips, hay, chopped corn stalks, pine needles, or shredded leaves. Those mulches to avoid include whole leaves, sawdust, or grass clippings because they can form a thick mat and suffocate the flowers and plants. Wood chip mulch is ideal for the root zone areas of trees and shrubs. However, plants like hardy shrub roses don't need any winter protection like mulch. Yet, other types of rose plants may need a double layer of protection in the form of mulch and potting soil. Leave the mulching to us. Contact us today for a monthly service plan that includes mulching for the winter of all your commercial landscape areas. We can ensure your plants, flowers, and shrubs make it through the winter while keeping a beautiful view for your customers.