Winter Yard Hacks

Even in the dead of winter, there are ways to get ahead in your garden so spring is a breeze. Try some of these winter yard hacks to save time (and beat cabin fever):

Mulching in winter sounds impractical, but if you find that lugging mulch around in summer and spreading it is a task that overheats you, it may just be a match! You can even lay mulch on top of snow and when the snow melts, the mulch is left in place. The hard part is that the mulch at the garden store is frozen too, so make sure to buy early and keep bagged mulch in your garage and a tarp on any bulk mulch.

Winter sowing can be done in December through March by planting up seeds in recycled greenhouses made from old milk or water jugs. Poke holes in the bottom of a gallon jug. Then cut the jug in half just under the handle. Fill the bottom with soil, add seeds for perennials you want to grow, water well and then duct tape the top back on. Label with a permanent marker and remove the lid. Set them outside and check back with them in the spring. You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be!

Winter pruning is a huge time saver. You can prune the dead and diseased portions from any shrubs during winter and the shrub won’t even know it happened because they are dormant. It’s much easier to see what’s going on when there are no leaves to get in the way. You can even reduce the size of these shrubs by half if needed. Great plants to prune in winter: Burning Bush, Panicle Hydrangea, Potentilla and Japanese Spirea.

Perennial weeds can be pulled all winter long, so if the weather suits you, you can really save some time and get a jump on things. Pull Creeping Charlie, Pokeweed, Dandelions, Yellow Nutsedge and Ground Violets.

Loosely tie together the branches of Arborvitae, Junipers and Yews so that heavy snowfall doesn’t cause them to split. If snow does accumulate on evergreens, gently knock it off.

Use Calcium chloride to de-ice walks and drives instead of rock salt, which can kill off plants and lawn and leave long-term damage.

Protecting your plants from deer is as easy as a roll of deer fencing and some zip ties. Deer fencing can be purchased at any garden center or hardware store or ordered in large quantities from the web. Stretch it over any deer-vulnerable plants in your yard and zip tie it in place. You can reuse the deer fencing from year to year.