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10 Challenges of Landscaping in Winter

Landscaping during spring and even summer months is ideal, as growing conditions are optimal. However, with the cold winter comes extra challenges. Knowing these challenges will give one a better overall idea of what to prepare for during the next months. This guide covers the basic challenges of most types of landscapes.

1. Frozen Pipes and Water Sources
During extended periods of below freezing temperatures, pipes become frozen, blocking off all sources of water. This could be detrimental to plants that need frequent watering. A water source from elsewhere will have to be obtained.

2. Can’t Start Young Plants
Small plants with small root systems, especially young seedlings, are especially susceptible to cold weather. A large tree, on the other hand, has deep roots that are well protected from the elements.

3. Mud Runoff and Erosion
Depending on the particular climate, excessive water from winter storms can erode away precious plant soil, plus dirty sidewalks, walkways and other landscaping features of the like. Ensuring good flood drainage for the particular landscape will save tons of trouble.

4. Cracked Cement and Other Porous Materials
In climates where winters are below freezing, cement, brick and other structures become saturated with water from either rain or melted snow during the day. At night, when temperatures get below freezing again, the water expands and breaks the cement.

5. Wind Damage
Aside from leaves falling during autumn, heavy winter storm winds can break branches and cause a huge mess of debris. In more extreme climates, this may happen frequently during the winter season, requiring frequent maintenance.

6. Leaves and Organic Debris Smothering Grass
Leaves that fall from plants during the autumn and winter months can pile up on smaller ground plants, smothering them out entirely. Taking care of the problem beforehand will ensure healthy grass for next spring.

7. Snow
One of the main problems associated with snow are broken tree branches, due to the heavy weight of the snow. However, simply tying up weak branches can prevent the problem all together.

8. Ice
Aside from frozen piping, ice is far more difficult to clean off walkways than snow. However, simple preparation, such as immediate shoveling and application of salt on walkways, will prevent dangerous, slippy areas. Be sure to not let salt get near plants, as certain plants are especially sensitive to salt.

9. Mold
Mold typically is found in places where the winters are wet, yet not below freezing. This ideal, moist environment allows for the fast growth of mold. However, removing all debris from the ground, such as leaves and twigs, will allow for much better drainage of the landscape.

10. Harder Soil
Because the soil retains a small amount of moisture, it tends to harden during the winter months. Digging holes for plants or other structures will prove to be especially hard. Frozen ground can make it almost impossible to dig.

Landscaping in the winter poses its challenges but with this handy list in hand, you’ll be well on your way to prepare your yard for a beautiful spring.