There are several important instructions for reducing the potential for loss of landscape plants and turf grass during the winter.
1. Cover Plants – When temperatures are expected to drop below 36 degrees, using freezing cloth or fabrics, cover tropical plants such as hibiscus, crotons, ixora, duranta, exotic palms, and most succulent plants. Try to create a tent over the plants, especially if plastic covers are used, to separate the material from the leaf tissue. Do not leave plants covered for an extended period of time (i.e.2-3 days)
2. Soil Saturation – Soil should be hydrated but not saturated to wet. Landscape plants are not like strawberry or citrus crops that need to be covered with ice to protect them. Do not water prior to evenings when temperatures are expected to drop below 39 degrees.
3. Watering Schedule – If possible, when temperatures go below 70 for the daytime, it is recommended that you water every other week or reduce your time of watering by 30%.
4. Trimming Plants – Extra foilage can protect plants during the winter. DO not trim too much from the plants and do not hurricane-cut palms before winter. Remove only yellowing fronds or seed heads after November 1st.
5. Holiday Decorations – Use caution with holiday decorations on your lawn, as leaving them in place for long periods of time will kill your grass.
6. Don’t forget to turn off your irrigation during a freeze warning. If your irrigation comes on during a freeze, expect a lovely winter wonderland scene in your yard for a few hours, followed by a lot of dying plants after the thaw.
(reprinted from McGuire’s beautiful newsletter)