Now that we’ve had a couple of snowstorms in Denver, you may think it’s too late to take steps to protect or improve your landscape. However, that’s not the case. Here are a few tasks you can perform to enhance your outdoor environment.
* Wrap the trunks of your young, thin-barked trees to ward off sun scald and frost cracking, and leave the wrapping on until late April. I’m talking, in particular, about young maple trees and fruit trees, including crabapples. If you’re in doubt as to whether to wrap a particular tree, wrap it anyway. It won’t hurt.
* Twine jute cord or chalk line from bottom to top around your your upright evergreens to protect their branches from snow breakage. Think Hicks yews and arbovitae. Unwrap them in late spring after the risk of heavy snowfalls has passed.
* Prune your trees and shrubs, now that they’re leafless and their shapes are easier to see. Once the ground is frozen, you won’t compact it as you navigate around your woody plants.
* Let sleeping leaves lie and decompose on your soil over the winter. Then turn the material into the soil next spring.
* Smother grass in areas where you want to create planting beds. On the grass, place six layers of newspaper topped with one inch of topsoil, then one inch of compost. Be sure to seal the edges of the newspaper with rocks, bricks or other material to prevent sunlight from reaching the covered grass. Over the winter, the grass will die and you’ll wake up to a fertile planting bed in April.
* One more thing. . .do not prune your roses. Pruning encourages new growth, which will be zapped by the winter cold. Wait until late April or early May for rose pruning.