What Are The Best Plants for Ohio Winter?

Weather in Ohio is quite unpredictable and winters often seem severe to plant-loving landscape and garden enthusiasts.  The gray skies, biting winds, and snowfall make it difficult to see the grounds-eye view of the landscape. This typically makes it hard to imagine having a beautiful yard during these cold-weather months.  However, if you would like to ensure a superb landscape all year long, there are options. Below are some of the best plants for Ohio’s winter:

American Beech

With the American Beech’s pointy buds, you will still be able to see leftovers of last year’s beechnuts, which can be found all throughout all of Ohio. The tapering surface roots and smooth, steel-gray bark make these trees easily recognized and wonderful to see, even from a distance. Even when highlighted against a bleak winter sky, these trees are remarkable to behold. In addition, American beeches have “marcescent” leaves, which means that the leaves from the previous season remain on the plant until spring (this is also the case for several types of oak trees).  These remaining leaves serve as the spectacular sylvan and golden foliar reminders of the past season.

Evergreens

Austrian Pine: The Austrian Pine is one of the most common evergreen tree species in Ohio. This type of conifer is covered in full, dark green branches covered in pine needles. It also has unique, black and white bark with a checkered or striped texture. It can grow to be extremely large at an average of 60 feet tall by 40 feet wide. This tree grows well in moist, clay-heavy soil which is very common across all of Ohio. evergreen tree in winter

Blue Spruce (Colorado Spruce): This is one of the most common types of evergreen trees grown in Ohio and the United States. This tree is typically known for its blue or blue-silver color and has several different growth habits such as dwarf, weeping, broad, columnar, and pyramidal. Blue Spruces can usually grow to be 50 feet tall by 25 feet wide around the bottom.

Yew: A yew bush or tree is a type of conifer which grows red seeds berry-like seeds instead of cones. Aside from the berries, the yew has small needles which are dark green and grey-green. Because the yew is an evergreen, it retains this color throughout the year.

Scotch Pine: The Scotch Pine is also known as the Scots Pine because it originated in Scotland. This tree has a crooked or twisted trunk that can split into different branches that shoot in different directions. This gives each Scotch Pine a unique look. These trees may extend to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide if mature and given sufficient room to grow. The tree’s shape begins as a classic pyramid, but becomes twisted when growing and being exposed to high winds. This is a great option to add a unique touch to a winter landscape.

Christmas Rose

These beautiful, cold-loving flowers are nicknamed Christmas Rose due to their unlikely habit of blooming outside in early winter. With the right conditions, these flowers can brighten your landscape and your porch well into the New Year. They also stay through early spring. Planting this perennial (which means they multiply and continue growing for at least three years) in the spring will garner the best results throughout the seasons.

Snowdrop Flowers

Snowdrop flowers are named so for their white drop-shaped blooms which point downward. These flowers grow from bulbs and are perennial as well. Snowdrops are not only named for their white color, but because they are known to bloom as early as February and don’t wait for the snow to melt before sprouting out of the ground. While these flowers might not be out all winter, they are hearty enough to survive cold temperatures and bloom before the season’s end.

Winterberrywinterberry in winter

Winterberry is a shrub which loses its leaves in the fall and leaves only the red or gold berries. These bright remains provide a beautiful contrast against white snow. Winterberry is also a type of holly which can be used to decorate the home during the winter season. The berries stay for multiple weeks or months into the winter season. In the spring, the shrub will also blossom with tiny white flowers that will turn into berries again once the leaves fall.

Witch Hazel

Fragrant in summer, these resilient plants put out clusters of spidery yellow and red blooms that blaze like flashes of sunlight in the heart of winter. Depending on the temperatures during the winter months, the ribbon-like petals of these flowers will crinkle up and expand afterwards. Witch Hazel is a sizeable shrub and as such, the ideal spot in a garden or landscape will offer a lot of room for growth. While called a shrub, this plant can potentially grow as high as 15 feet tall and almost as wide. Witch hazel should be planted in the fall for best results throughout the year.

Cold weather is not an automatic indication that your landscape will look dull and lifeless. You can plant some of these resilient plants to brighten your Ohio winter. Contact us to discuss these and further options for your winter landscape.

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How Does Winter Weather Affect Landscaping?

While winter weather can be beautiful to look at, it can have an ugly impact on your landscaping. Cold weather brings dry air, snow, and frost which can leave your plants and lawn looking run-down by the time the spring season finally arrives. Here’s a closer look at the effects of winter on landscaping:

Wind Damage
Wind can cause damage in any season, and in the winter, it can also be accompanied by snow. Blowing snow drifts can cause snow to pile up on some areas of the lawn, while other spots may see less accumulation. This can cause some areas to see worse damage than others. Winds can also lead to downed branches from trees and shrubs. Even if the plant is well-established, this damage can still kill it. To prevent this, pruning before the winter is important. During the season, you may also consider shaking the snow off or gently removing it with a broom.

Dry Air
Winter can bring plenty of moisture in the form of frost, snow, and ice, but the cold air that sticks around for months is dry and lacking in moisture. Just like our lips and skin dry out after exposure to the cold, plants will too. The dry air, especially when combined with the wind, can cause plants of all kinds to dry out. Evergreen trees are especially vulnerable to damage from the dry air. One way to reduce the negative effects is by pruning and fertilizing plants before the cold air sets in.

Heavy, Wet Snow
Snow can lead to several different problems for plants and lawns. One issue is snow mold growth, which occurs when snow that has accumulated on turf starts to melt. The mold growth leads to patches of brown and pink which kills the grass. In the spring, the grass may need to be raked and reseeded if the damage is too severe. Prevention is the key, and can be handled by properly aerating and fertilizing the lawn beforehand.

winter weather affects landscaping

Heavy snowfall can also damage plants and trees. As snow piles up on branches, it can cause the branches to sag and snap under the weight. Again, proper pruning of trees, shrubs, and other small plants is essential in the weeks before the cold and wet weather settles in. By keeping these plants pruned, it will be easier to prevent limb breakage.

Professional Care
One of the best ways to keep your lawn and gardens in great shape is by working with a professional landscaper. They have the right equipment, knowledge, and skills to maintain the look and quality of your landscaping throughout the year. Proper prevention can help reduce the damage that cold winter weather can do to your property.

When it comes to keeping your landscaping looking its best throughout the year, proper preventative measures and quality care-taking measures are key. By taking steps to protect your lawn and garden, you’ll be able to ensure that the cold weather doesn’t do severe damage to your landscaping during the winter months.

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How to Protect Your Plants from Frost in Early Spring

It finally looks like warmer temperatures are moving into Ohio and we hope they are here to stay! In case there are still some cold nights ahead, we wanted to offer some suggestions on how to protect your outdoor plants from the frost.

Choose a Warm Location

Avoid planting tender plant species in open, exposed areas or in low spots where cold air settles. Try instead planting them near a south or west-facing wall, which absorbs heat during the day and radiates it at night.

Use Mulch

Mulch holds heat and moisture in the soil and can help protect your plant’s roots from cold temperatures.

Cover Your Plants

If a cold night is in the forecast, throw an old tarp or blanket over your tender plants to protect them from frost. You will want to prop the cover up a bit so it doesn’t crush or damage your plants. Then remove it during the day so your plants get light and air.

As you are planning your spring and summer landscaping projects, remember to plan for maintenance too – watering, mulching, fertilizing and replacing dead plants. Choose plants that fit your maintenance schedule or consider hiring a professional landscaping company (hey, that’s us!) to help take care of your yard.

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