When we think about landscaping in winter, we often think about planning. Not planting. Winter is an excellent time to dream, design, and think big for spring. But there’s also a surprising amount of planting that can happen during the winter months, especially in regions like ours where winters tend to be relatively mild. The good news is, even as the holidays approach, it’s not too late to plant. In fact, cold weather helps some plants and trees become stronger and healthier. However, winter planting is one landscaping activity you don’t want to DIY. It requires plenty of knowledge and experience. So it’s best to consult with a professional landscaping team that understands winter climate conditions and which plant varieties will thrive. Here’s an overview of our winter planting favorites:
Winter is an excellent time to lay seeds for cool-season grasses like perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue. In the process known as dormant seeding, we lay grass seed in late fall/early winter, hoping that a layer of snow will soon fall on top. The seeds remain dormant during the winter months, preparing to sprout and grow in the spring. Seeding in winter often leads to very robust growth and takes one more thing off your spring landscaping list.
Ornamental grasses are fall and winter superstars. Light and frost create stunning effects on these plants when there’s a chill in the air. We can plant most varieties all year round. Reed grass, switchgrass, blue fescue, and other cold-hardy favorites are fabulous in winter. Talk with your landscaper about combinations that will work well for you.
There’s nothing like spotting the first forsythia of the spring. Those yellow March blooms are often one of the early signs that warmer days are ahead. You can plant your forsythia now for spring blooms. Other shrubs that can handle a late fall or early winter planting include laurel, privet, viburnum, and evergreens like holly and arborvitae.
Deciduous and Evergreen Trees
Many trees thrive with a late fall/early winter planting. One of our all-time favorite holiday gifts is a beautiful young magnolia tree. Those gorgeous glossy leaves stay beautiful year-round if you choose a cold-hardy evergreen variety. In winter, we can also plant spring-blooming deciduous trees, including dogwood, redbud, and ornamental cherry, if weather conditions allow. Make sure your newly planted trees get plenty of water throughout the winter to ensure proper root development. (If you have your hose unhooked, you can pull out your watering can.) Don’t overwater, and properly apply mulch around the tree’s base to provide insulation and moisture retention.
If you didn’t get your spring-blooming bulbs in the ground this fall, it’s not too late. Many spring flower bulbs prefer cold soil. If you plant bulbs too early in the fall, warm soil can lead to fungus or disease. If you didn’t get around to planting in October, it’s not too late to give it a shot. As the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center puts it, “Flower bulbs are survivors by nature’s design.” Your bulbs are far more likely to thrive with a winter planting than spending another year in storage.
Winter Planting And Beyond With Epling
When it comes to winter planting, weather conditions play a big role. In Virginia, relatively mild winters allow for more planting than you might think. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts a warm winter for our region this year. So we’ll likely have opportunities for planting to get ready for spring and beyond. Winter is also an excellent time to:
- Apply mulch.
- Tidy your yard.
- Organize sheds and storage spaces.
- Clean and organize tools and equipment
- Clean and maintain hardscaping and water features
Of course, winter is a great time for design and planning. Your landscaping team is usually less crazy busy than in the peak spring and summer months and welcomes the opportunity to sit down with you and prepare for future projects. Whether you’re thinking about planning, planting or both, the Epling Landscaping & Lawn Services team is ready to share our expertise with you.