Dealing with Winter Uncertainties for Landscapes

Winter can be an uncertain time for the outdoors. Between dry seasons, inclement weather, and plants going dormant, there are a lot of issues to consider. Rather than reacting to each problem, there are several preventative measures that can be taken to best set yourself and your landscapes up for success. Here’s a look at some of the common problems you may experience during the winter, and what you can do to address and mitigate them.

Dry Seasons

Southern regions of the US often experience dry seasons during winter, with prolonged periods of decreased rainfall and low humidity. Some states and counties also have watering restrictions to conserve water, which puts additional strain on turf and trees. Rather than letting plants suffer due to drought stress, treat with Hydretain, which can be used on any soil surface for lawns, sports turf, or trees and shrubs. This allows you to use less water to keep plants hydrated and healthy.

Turf in the Florida dry season
Turf in the Florida dry season

Temperature Extremes

While the general trend across the US and the world has been towards warmer winters, with some occasional hot days, extreme cold can still hit parts of the country; see the latest USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map for details . Sustained subzero temperatures can strike as well, as seen already in the winter of 2024.

It’s best to know what general conditions to expect in your region of the country, and to be prepared for extreme temperatures in either direction. Heat stress can be mitigated with Hydretain, and NutriRoot and CytoGro can be used in recovery efforts. Trees native to colder climates will be well adapted to survive a cold snap. As for grasses, treating with Hydretain or FOURPlay will help with stress tolerance.

Using CytoGro on turf will yield bigger and stronger roots that are more efficient at absorbing nutrients.
Using CytoGro on turf will yield bigger and stronger roots that are more efficient at absorbing nutrients.

Unexpected Bad Weather

Inclement weather can take many forms, depending on what part of the country you’re in. Drought can strike, as well as heavy precipitation. Snow is a natural part of many winters and ice storms can be very damaging to trees, especially if they occur early in the season before trees have lost all their leaves. The same goes for very heavy, wet snow weighing down leafy breanches. Assess the damage left behind after an ice storm, especially damaged and broken branches on trees, and prune the tree as needed to ensure it remains healthy and free of damaged leads.

You can treat trees ahead of next winter with Shortstop 2SC, which will allow roots to grow stronger and slow the growth of above-ground vegetation. This will help plants absorb more nutrients, leading to better recovery, and shorter branches may be more resilient to damage. Treating trees with nutrients, such as NutriRoot or Bio MP, especially in fall, will provide them with additional strength through the upcoming winter.

icy trees

Frozen Ground

You might think a frozen ground during periods of extreme cold can be a problem for plants, but a lot of plants (other than evergreens) go dormant in winter, so getting water and nutrients to them isn’t much of an issue.

However, if you forgot to apply water and soil amendments in the fall before winter dormancy, wait until spring when the ground has thawed and the plants are out of dormancy. Then, you can apply products from Arbor Rx for soil amendments to deal with issues such as poor soil quality, low nutrient availability, or soil moisture content. If you need to deal with road salt buildup on grass or soil, treat with Na-X and water thoroughly.

Winter does not need to be a stressful time. With the right tools and products, you’ll be equipped to deal with any challenge that’s in store, no matter what the unpredictable season brings.