Your yard may not be in bloom, but there is still plenty of work you can do to maintain your plants and prepare for spring! The more you can do now, the easier it will be to get your yard looking great in March and April.
Protect trees and shrubs from the cold, ice and snow. Apply mulch around trees, plants and shrubs to guard against frost. Mulch also helps reduce water loss and maintain soil temperature around the roots. You can also wrap fragile plants in burlap, or create a “screen” with a large piece of burlap and two stakes. Once the cold spell is over, make sure to remove the burlap to prevent the plants from overheating.
Remove dead branches and limbs. Make sure to inspect your trees for any dead or diseased limbs that could fall during a snow or ice storm. Pick up any limbs or branches that have fallen onto the grass to prevent damage.
Avoid walking across your yard. Try to prevent people from trekking on the same patch of yard. Grass is fairly hardy, but this can make it more difficult for it to recover in the spring.
Use your Christmas tree as mulch or compost. You can put the tree into a chipper or shredder and make mulch for the upcoming spring. You can also chop up the tree and use it as plant compost.
Repurpose your Christmas/Holiday plants. Don’t toss your topiary or Christmas cactus! You can easily repurpose them in the garden or in your home.
Christmas Cactuses are considered a tropical plant, so they need to stay indoors until the weather turns warm. Come February, you can repot your cactus into a larger container and fertilize it with 0-10-10 ahead of its growing season from April to September. Come October, put it in a cool, dark room with limited water to get it to bloom. The plants typically need 12-14 hours of darkness to get it to enter dormancy, which is key to getting it to bloom.
Topiaries such as rosemary, boxwoods or lemon cypress can stay in the house until the last frost, typically mid-February. You can then take them outside and plant them in a garden. Rosemary can be used as a shrub (it typically grows to 3 feet by 3 feet) or to anchor an herb garden. Most are evergreens, and are pretty hardy in the cold.
Poinsettias need a “rest” period after they bloom for the holidays. After all the flower buds drop off, decrease the plant’s water and put in a cool dark area until spring. Starting in March or April, you can bring it back out and give it food, sun and water. We recommend cutting it back to about 6 inches and fertilizing it at least once a month with standard plant fertilizer. You can also pinch back its tips once it gets about 6-10 inches high to encourage the poinsettia to go fuller instead of taller until August. Starting in September, the poinsettia needs about 12 hours of darkness to get ready to bloom. But make sure to bring it out during the day so it gets enough energy. That will help its leaves turn red again in time for the holidays!