Thoughts on Winter Maintenance - by Natasha

It’s winter in Central Tx.  It might be cold or it might be 80 degrees, but there are always chores to do in the garden.  Don’t forget that winter is a bare time of year, but it’s the breathing time before spring perfect for cleaning up, assessing what you have and what you want in coming seasons.  It’s time to plan new beds and new projects before the mad dash through spring crashes into our brutal summer.


In past winters, we’ve had at least one freeze that’s denuded your deciduous flora but this year we'll need to cut back to mimic winter's pruning shears.  Most perennials can be cut to the ground or close to it.  Woody shrubs like yellow bells, flame acanthus, or cherry sage can be trimmed1/3 to ½  into a tidy, well -structured shape especially if you’d like them to thicken and be fuller, more lush specimens.


The last of the gorgeous fall color has only begun to brown and is littering everybody’s everything.  Those leaves can go into the compost and we’ll be done with them for the season…really, this time.


It’s still a fine time to plant trees, hardy shrubs and roses.  The more time a new root system has to get established before the test of a Texas summer, the better.  Also, don’t forget that bare root fruit and berry trees and bushes are in season.  And it’s a short season so get them now before they sell out.


If you haven’t mulched, it’s still a good time to get that done.  A fresh, thick coat of mulch insulates your plants, slows down weed growth and regulates soil moisture.  It also looks nice, now that your blooming plants aren’t exactly taking center stage out there and there’s more underbelly showing.


The sysiphian task of weeding continues with winter players: henbane, cleavers, chick weed, and so on, not to mention the ever present oak suckers rearing their ugly heads.


It’s time to cut back native grasses and dethatch for greener clumps come spring now that their spectacular fall bloom has faded and the birds have had their share.


My personal favorites, the roses can be pruned this month and next. It’s a fine time to clear out dead canes and cross branching and a rose prunedin the next month or two will put on a fresh flush of beautiful new growth and bloom spectacularly in March and April.


Winter is a great time to clean up, assess what you have and what you want in coming seasons.  It’s time to plan new beds and new projects before the spring rush, so if you’ve been thinking of starting a project, give us a call.  The best planning time is now.