We have winter weather–a real winter–for the first time in several years. Landscape
contractors and plant nurseries have gone back to their traditional winter schedules which we
have more or less ignored the last two years. So what kind of tips can we give you when the
ground is too hard to even think about getting a shovel into? One word: planning! Even though winter has our crews not working,management is in the office preparing for the upcoming year, which means competitors are doing the exact same thing. The results of winter prep time leads to lowest bids of the year; the lowest. Schedules are not full, there is still time to place orders, they can coordinate with other contractors such as the pool company, etc. So there’s our tip. We know it is hard to get excited about an outdoor project in January but if you are thinking about it, move forward now, because you’ll like the price.
There’s another advantage to winter planning: landscape designers aren’t swamped. You can get an amazing amount of information and design work done that is simply not available in spring when their schedules are already full. The vast amount of projects are not even considered until those first warm days of spring, which unfortunately, means you’ll need to be prepared to get in line.
If you are not considering a spring/summer project, there are still a few things for you to be thinking about.
WORD OF WARNING:
In 30 years plus of being in the nursery business, we’ve never seen plant material in such short supply. If you want large material, get organized now to get your name on it. Much of it will be gone by May. Being living things, it will take plants a few years to catch up.
SPRING ONLY: Every fall we get requests for trees and shrubs that are popular for fall color and
forgotten in spring but unfortunately, several of these varieties should only be planted in
spring and by time fall rolls around, it’s too late. Black gums, sweet gums, many oaks,
and hollies all need to be planted in spring.
If you have been searching for a rare plant, new variety, or special size plant, put in your request now. Most nurseries are close to finalizing spring orders by now and are aware of what
and where certain plants can be found. Adding a special request in April or May is just plain
difficult. You have a better chance the earlier you ask. When shipping starts, it’s easy for
special requests to get pushed aside in the mad scramble. Plus, it’s important remember that
digging is only done in spring and fall.
DON’T FORGET WATER
Cold is hard on plants, especially plants that have questionable hardiness in our area. Cold
combined with dry is even worse. You can’t water when the ground is frozen but if we get
a thaw, give those less hardy plants a drink. Ideally it’s good to be sure your plants go into
dormancy with plenty of water.
Jake Frink is a Columbia native who enjoys working and playing in outdoor spaces. He has a degree in plant science and landscape design from MU. With Rost Landscaping for nearly 18 years, Jake is the Design Manager. His natural talent for creating beautiful outdoor spaces gives him a huge sense of satisfaction. Jake considers himself to be a very lucky husband as well as a lucky dad of three great kids.