For farmers and rural homeowners with huge yards, what better time to take stock of your landscaping needs than in the cold of midwinter while bare trees and patchy grass areas visually outline what you must tackle over the next few months. January stands as the optimal time to take the steps you can before spring has reached its apex, at which time you will need to start looking ahead to summer maintenance or major farming routines. Though conditions will vary from parcel to parcel and year to year, here are some cold-weather landscaping tasks to consider.
The first step to take is the obvious one: outfitting compact tractors with snow plow attachments, clear any small drifts of snow out of the way to get a clear picture of the layout. Next, remove yard ornaments, holiday decorations, movable structures and other peripheral odds-and-ends scattered about. Your goal is to analyze the landscape without adornments confusing your perspective.
Remove the Deadwood
Even when green reappears in the spring, dead trees, shrubs and fallen branches will stand out no matter how else you beautify the areas around your house. You can pick up the fallen timber, but you certainly will not yank trees from the ground by hand.
When you are certain a tree or bush has reached its end-of-life, will need to use industrial equipment to remove it at its base. Attach hydraulic stump shears to tractors or other equipment to accomplish the job effectively and safely. When cutting up the tree after removal, be careful not to spread bits and pieces around healthy trees since you can spread disease to them by doing so.
Those trees and bushes that are still alive may need a helping hand as well. Where you can identify dead branches and twigs from winter’s rough hand, pull out the pruning shears and get to work. Winter is a particularly good time for this task since you can more clearly define the shape of the tree than in the summer, at which time leaves overtake its form. Cut dead pieces at an angle just where they branch off living ones. Note that you should repeat this process when there are leaves on the trees and shrubs since you can note the branches you overlooked.
Remove Tangled Growth and Seed Extensively
By the end of summer, your ground cover will consist of weeds, thatch and other unsightly growth. By using tractor mower attachments to cut through the thick green in January, you can create conditions for rejuvenating the grass in late February or March. As spring approaches, spot-till bare patches and dethatch where necessary. Finally, spread grass seed, especially where bare patches predominate. Be certain to take care of this last step while the temperatures are low so the grass can take root effectively.
When sitting around the fireplace making resolutions for the coming year, consider tackling yard maintenance. If the weather is not too extreme, winter is an ideal time to begin landscaping. Because you will be eager to embrace the resolution, you should grab your tools and get to work during the arc between late-rising and early-setting sun.