Despite the cold weather, there are a few activities you can engage in this winter to propagate new growth in your yard. Die-hard lawn and garden enthusiasts either already know that seeding and planting are safe for mild North Texas winters- or they already know it!
It’s certainly true that not all plants will fare well if established in the winter time, but there are several trees and shrubs that do just fine. Additionally, winter overseeding is a great way to boost a bed of grass that was looking a bit sparse in the autumn months.
Woody plants with bare roots are a great choice for winter planting. Bare-root plants are those whose roots aren’t packed in soil upon purchase or arrival. They’re slower to “take” to new soil once planted, but this makes them perfect for the winter time. The longer process of adapting allows them to remain dormant and “settle in” for a few weeks.
A dry winter day provides a good opportunity to uproot old, failing plants and bushes you no longer want, which creates a convenient spot in the soil for new planting. Check with your local nursery or garden shop to find out which plants and trees do well for bare-root planting in your region’s climate and soil types.
Watering new shrubs and saplings right after you’ve planted them is important, as it will help the root system is established. However, encouraging immediate growth with a fertilizer is not recommended. Once again, these plants will naturally wait out the winter and “wake up” exactly when Mother Nature prompts them to resume a natural growth schedule.
Protecting Your Trees and Shrubs For the Winter has some additional advice on how to keep your garden green and healthy year-round.
This is a practice most often employed in late summer, but it’s also an option for January and February. Dormant seeding is when you spread extra seeds throughout your lawn while your established grass bed is dormant. While it may seem counter-intuitive, the cold air and ground actually encourages the new seeds to settle into the soil more deeply.
Just like with planting bare-root trees and shrubs, these seeds will remain dormant right along with the rest of your yard. If you noticed some thin patches in your grass last fall, dormant seeding is an effective method for filling them in come springtime. Just be sure you practice some patience, as new grass will take several weeks to germinate and emerge from the soil.
You can either use a broadcast spreader or a seed slicer for dormant seeding, depending on what is available to you. Broadcasters simply spread the seeds over the surface of the soil in a more even fashion than if you spread them by hand.
A slicer will provide greater success, as it helps the seeds work their way into the ground without getting picked off my hungry birds. As with most larger lawn care equipment, either of these can be rented from the lawn care store if you don’t own one.