Morning Sun

Snow and ice tips to protect your yard

- Medianews Group

Here are some ideas about how to best treat your yard and plants in cold months, from the Turfmutt Foundation.

• Stop trimming your lawn once it freezes. Trim your grass to the height recommende­d for your lawn variety before it freezes. Cutting your grass too short can leave it dry and exposes it to the elements, not to mention insects and disease.

• Add a thin layer of mulch to your lawn before it’s too cold. A thin layer of mulch can protect your grass roots from snow and frost. It can even prevent deeper layers of soil from freezing, making it easier for your lawn to bounce back in the spring.

• Check your trees for dead or damaged limbs. Removing dead or damaged limbs before inclement weather arrives, is one way to protect your shrubs and yard from damage (not to mention people and pets!). Snow and ice can weigh heavily on dead branches and make them snap and fall. Remove any dead branches carefully with clippers, a chainsaw or pole pruner, following safety precaution­s. Consult an arborist for problemati­c trees.

• Mark pathways to clear and beds to avoid.

areas that you will need to clear of snow and ice, as well as areas you want to avoid, like flower beds. Stakes or sticks can help. When it’s time to run your snow thrower, you won’t accidental­ly cut a path through the lawn and can stick to your walkways. Always follow manufactur­er’s safety procedures and never put your hand inside the snow thrower. Always use a clean out tool or stick to clear a clog. Be sure that children and pets are safely inside and not near outdoor power equipment while it’s being operated.

• Keep new (and old) plantings well-hydrated. Caring for trees and shrubs even in the winter is still

important. Plants and trees that are well-hydrated are more likely to survive a hard freeze so water well before the cold snap sticks. Newly planted trees can only survive about two weeks in the winter without water, so be sure to water any new trees you’ve added to your landscape if they aren’t getting water naturally from rain or snow. If your outside hose is already shut off for the winter, then use a bucket and add five gallons to the area around the tree.

• Continue watering plants and trees even after the leaves drop. Older plants and trees should enter winter well-hydrated, so continue watering even after the leaves have dropped. Even in the wintertime, hardy evergreen plants continue to lose moisture through their needles and if it’s a dry winter they need

supplement­al water too.

• Don’t shake heavy snow and ice off branches. It may be tempting for children (or adults) to wiggle those branches and watch the snow come off, but snow or ice can damage a branch. Shaking them can cause the

branches to snap. It’s better to wait until the snow melts to assess the damage.

• Remove damaged branches as soon as the weather allows you to do it safely. If snow or ice have snapped a limb, look at the cut and assess the damage.

Try to get a clean cut on an already broken branch or limb, as this will make it more difficult for insects or disease to enter the stressed area on your tree or shrub. Follow all manufactur­er’s safety precaution­s if using a chainsaw or pole pruner.

• Be careful about salt. Salt can melt snow and ice, but it can also damage plants and trees by drawing water away from their roots. Keep salt applicatio­ns away from your trees and shrubs. Salt should also be cleaned off pet paws following a romp outside in the snow.

And remember to get outside, even when it’s chilly. It’s good for our mental and physical well-being to spend time in our family yards and breathe in the fresh air — and it also helps us connect to each other and with nature.

 ?? TURFMUTT FOUNDATION ?? Mark the edges of your drive and sidewalks so you don’t damage plants when you use a snowblower.
TURFMUTT FOUNDATION Mark the edges of your drive and sidewalks so you don’t damage plants when you use a snowblower.

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