Wisconsin winters can be very hard on your landscaping. Protecting your plants and hardscape now can prevent damage and save time and money in the spring.  Here are some simple TIPS to get a step ahead of Mother Nature and those hungry critters. 



·     Deer and Rodent Protection:  Build a wire cage around trees and shrubs they prefer, such as Japanese Yews, Burning Bushes and Korean Spicebushes.  Secure stakes in the ground around the plant and attach chicken wire or hardware cloth to them.


·     Winter Burn Protection:  Harsh, drying winds and sun scald can increase moisture loss, causing evergreens like Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Boxwood to turn brown and eventually die.  Wrap the evergreens loosely in burlap, or if you rather see them during the winter, spray an anti-desiccant on to help seal in moisture.





·     Water Your Plants:  Make sure your plants have adequate moisture.  Give evergreens and newly planted trees and shrubs a good drink of water before the ground freezes.  When you’re finished, don’t forget to take in the garden hose and turn off the water to prevent water pipes from bursting.


·     Protect Groundcovers and Tender Perennials:  Cover Pachysandra, Vinca, and newly planted perennials with evergreen boughs to help insulate the ground, prevent frost heaving, and protect the plants from drying winds and sunlight.




·     Protect Plants from Heavy Snow:  In general, heavy snows on plants should be left alone.  Knocking the snow off can cause more damage to the plants.  You may want to tie the top branches of Arborvitaes with a wide strapping to prevent them from bending over from heavy snows.


·     Apply Safer Ice Melt Products:  There are alternative ice melts to rock salt, like Morton’s Safe-T-Plus, that are safer for your plants and paving surfaces, minimizing damage to concrete and joints. 


If a light fixture inside your home stops working, all you usually need to do to fix it is change a light bulb.  But light fixtures outside are exposed to a lot of elements like snow, ice, water and critters and lot more may need to be done to keep them working to their potential.



General maintenance:  Clean off lenses; Straighten, tighten and adjust fixtures; Check for broken lenses and corrosion.



If the light is out, replace it with the same wattage.  Larger wattage can overload the system. 



If there are multiple lights out in a group, check for a loose connection in the wire.  This can be a broken or cut wire, or one that was chewed on by critters.



If the whole lighting system is out:  (1) Check for power in the outlet first.  If there is no power, then check the breaker panel or look for a ground fault reset button, which can come from anywhere in the house.  We once had to reset a button in the bathroom.  (2) You may need to check the timer.  Make sure it is working, spin to see if the lights come on and off.  A timer can go bad and may need to be replaced.  (3) Check the fuse in the transformer and replace if needed.



If you don’t have a lighting system, install one!  Why should you only enjoy your landscape during the day?





As the final colors of this year’s landscape get blown away, there is still time to plan for next year’s spring colors.

TIPS on how to put color into your spring landscape:

Plant Bulbs:  Daffodils, Hyacinths, Squills, and early Tulips planted in the fall will provide color throughout the spring season.

Prepare Annual BedsLocate annual planting beds in key focal point areas with rich organic soil that annuals love.  Plant hardy annuals like Pansies and Snapdragons in spring for early color and replace them later with more heat tolerant annuals.

Plant Early-Flowering Trees and Shrubs:  This is still a great time to plant trees and shrubs.  Cornelian Cherry Dogwoods, Redbuds, Magnolias, and Crabapples are trees that flower early along with shrubs like Forsythia, Lilacs and Korean Spice Viburnum.

 Amend the Soil in your Planting Beds:  If your perennials don’t seem to be performing well, amend the soil with organic matter to the top 12 inches.  This will improve drainage and provide a great medium for healthy, luscious looking plants.

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Wandsnider Landscape Architects

We strive to create beautiful outdoor environments for your enjoyment. Inviting livable spaces that capture your vision and add value to your home.


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