damage from ice control products is one of the top problems
landscapers see when spring arrives.
If you have ventured out into your yard
and are shocked by what the elements have done to your landscaping
this winter, donít worry, all is not lost. These area landscaping
pros offer solutions for some of the most common cold-weather damage.
Alan Upstrom of David J. Frank
Landscape Contracting Inc. in Germantown says the top problems his
clients see in the spring are snow mold and snowplow damage of the
turf, along with salt damage from ice-control products. To mend your
turf, Upstrom suggests raking up the dead or flattened area of the
turf to allow air and moisture to circulate. Upstrom says if the turf
has not started to recover itself from its root, then seeding these
areas is recommended when soil temps reach 55 degrees.
Salt-damaged turf is also common along
the edges of sidewalks and driveways. When the soil temperatures have
reached 55 degrees, Upstrom says homeowners can start by digging out
approximately 2 to 3 inches of the area that has turned brown and
replacing it with fresh soil and new seed.
"Areas that have been scalped or
skinned by snowplows may need additional soil," Upstrom says.
"If the soil has been removed and the area is low, then sow seed,
cover with a mulching material and water regularly."
Gary Urban with Hawkís Nursery Co.
Inc. in Wauwatosa says tops on his list include broken branches that
may have been damaged by wind or snow/ice. Look for animal damage on
the branches of shrubs as well as the bark of shrubs and trees.
"Broken and gnawed branches need
to be pruned off cleanly," advises Upstrom. "Use a sharp
bypass type pruner or pruning saw to remove the damaged material
leaving behind a clean cut with no stub."
give up for dead those plants that remain brown in early
spring, experts say. It might take them some time to bounce
Urban also suggests that making a plant
inventory of the damaged or dead landscaping can help you decide what
to use as replacements.
"Donít pass judgment on your
plants too early however," says Urban. "Many late-budding
but alive perennials and shrubs have been ripped out by impatient
homeowners. What looks brown early in the season may be full of color
in a few weeks."
Urban also suggests homeowners take
time and figure out why a plant may have died over winter ó too much
wind, salt or winter sun may be the culprits.
"If you can determine why it died,
try to find a plant that can tolerate those conditions. If the cause
of death cannot be determined and you really like the original plant,
try it again," suggests Urban. "It may have been a
coincidence. If it doesnít survive the next winter, then itís time
to make another selection."
Urban says knowing how and when to
protect your plants is also key.
"A common mistake made is to
remove winter protection, such as rose cones, evergreen boughs and
tree protection, too early or too late. When the temps are
consistently above 40 degrees (day and night) is the time to begin
Windburn & heaving
William Wandsnider of Wandsnider
Landscape Architects in Menomonee Falls says windburn is a common
cause of shrubs, especially arborvitae, to die over winter. Evergreens
constantly lose moisture through the winter, which is increased with
harsh winds. Plants that are lacking moisture and susceptible to these
winds may turn brown and die.
"To help prevent this, give
evergreens a good soaking with a hose, a slow trickle from 15 to 45
minutes, depending on the size of the plant," says Wandsnider.
"A barrier of burlap held up with metal poles will help guard the
evergreens from harsh winds. Planting evergreens in more sheltered
areas and away from northwest winds will also help avoid
Wandsnider also says perennials and
ground cover, which have shallow roots, can be the victim of
"heaving," which may damage roots. He says this is more
common in areas around concrete or brick.
"We recommend that you place an
insulating cover of evergreen boughs or marsh hay over your beds. Do
this around Thanksgiving after several good frosts," Wandsnider
advises. "This covering keeps the ground consistently frozen. A
rodent bait should be used with any covering to keep them from nesting
in the material."