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Landscaping With the winter season here, homeowners should be thinking about how to best protect their plants, trees and shrubs from snow, ice, winds and winter temperatures. Taking steps to “winterproof” lawns and landscapes will help to minimize potential damage and get the landscape ready for the spring season. The following are winter care tips from PLANET, the national association of landscape professionals: By Shayne Newman “When buildings leak, the environmental, structural and long term performance can be just the beginning of serious problems and liabilities.” Protecting plants, trees and shrubs during the winter season Mulch Trees, Plants and Shrubs. Mulch around trees, plants and shrubs to add extra protection for winter. Mulching is an important control for erosion and loss of water and a 2-inch layer of mulch will reduce water loss and help maintain uniform soil temperature around the roots. Keep Plants Well-Hydrated. Evergreen plants continue to transpire, or lose water through their leaves, even in the winter. Plants kept well-hydrated until a hard freeze have a better chance for survival. Protect Evergreens, Plants and Trees. Use antitranspirants that are applied to plants and trees to help reduce water loss from plant leaves (similar to sweating.) Burlap wrapping may also be used to shield valuable evergreens from salt spray and winter winds. Tie branches together that may be susceptible to snow loads. For advice on how to protect plants from winter weather, consult a landscape or tree care professional. Cut Grass Shorter. Although during the growing season lawns should be cut to 3 inches to 3.5 inches, the final lawn cutting should be 2 inches to 2.5 inches. Watch Out for Winter Warm Spells. If plants are covered with burlap or other wrappings, consider ventilating them during the day and re-covering them at night. Use Care when Shoveling, Plowing or Blowing Snow. Place posts with reflectors next to plants so they are well- marked; then snow won’t be shoveled on top of the plants. Consider clearing snow away from walks, driveways with a shovel or snow-blower instead – it will reduce the amount of de-icing products needed. 12 CondoManagement » New England » December 2012