Mother Nature usually gives us one or more respites from winter in the form of nice January days. The temperatures warm a bit, the sun comes out and you itch to get outdoors and do something, Might I suggest a couple of landscaping ideas?
What you can do during a “January thaw” depends on how much snow is on the ground, how high the temperature climbs and how much effort you want to put forth.
I recommend that you begin by inspecting your trees and shrubs to see if the winter winds, snow and ice have broken or weakened any branches. Weakened tree branches will sag. And, these weak and broken branches can be dangerous for people and property underneath.
If you see broken branches hanging up in trees or sagging precariously, remember that our arborists work all winter. Also remember that the most dangerous job in the United States is that of an arborist. It is exponentially more dangerous for untrained people climbing ladders. So if you have a tree that needs pruning give us a call and we’ll send out a team of professionals.
Shrubs are a different story. If you feel a shrub needs pruning, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as pruning trees. Like trees, shrub branches should be pruned back to a fork or to the ground. Don’t leave stubs.
I suggest that you limit your shrub pruning to removing broken branches, especially if it’s a flowering shrub. Otherwise you take a chance of cutting off flower buds, reducing the shrub’s attractiveness at bloom time in the spring. Most shrub branches are more flexible than tree branches. So, don’t be too quick to remove shrub branches that might be bent over to the ground, especially if the ends are covered with snow or ice. Chances are good that they’ll spring back when the weight melts off them or they have time to dry out a bit.
If the lawn is free of snow and firm enough to support your weight, you can pick up twigs and other debris as you walk the yard. If there are big patches of leaves on the grass, raking them out and disposing of them will lessen your chance of winter lawn diseases. Hopefully, you can get the leaves out before disease fungi get a foothold.
Should we be lucky enough that spring-like days are plentiful, your perennials may appreciate your fluffing up the mulch around them and adding additional mulch if necessary. If the ground isn’t frozen, they’d like a watering, too.
January thaw days come with little warning and depart just as quickly. To be prepared for these days, why not take some time to map out a strategy and make a “To-do” list in descending order of priority? Then you can make it a productive, as well as an enjoyable, day when it arrives.