Winter Planting

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CHARLOTTE – Understandably spending the day in your garden or working on an outdoor beautification project to enhance the curb appeal of your home is probably not one of the first things on your “to-do” list when it’s 25 degrees outside, the weather report’s calling for freezing rain and you still haven’t packed away your Christmas decorations. But in our neck of the woods (central North Carolina that is) when the sun is out and it’s one of those milder, drier winter days that are pretty common for our climate there are things you can do.

TREES AND SHRUBS                        

Winter can be an excellent time to plant many types of trees and shrubs. During this time roots are active and the weather is less demanding. Good root activity is essential because it provides the food and water necessary for successful establishment and growth. Summer is the most stressful time for tree and shrub planting.

SOIL TESTS                                              

Prior to planting it’s a good idea to collect soil samples from the areas you would like to plant in. Soil tests can provide important information about soil pH and nutrient levels as well as recommendations for lime and fertilizer when necessary. Soil testing is a service provided by the NC Dept. of Agriculture so you can contact your regional office for more information.


Once you plant don’t forget the mulch. 3 to 4 inches of mulch protects the root systems during extremely cold periods and retains much-needed moisture critical to plants. It’s not something people usually consider during Winter but extreme and extended cold periods can have a significant drying effect. Almost any type of inexpensive mulch will do. Make sure the mulch has aged to some degree and has not been freshly debarked and processed. Never place the mulch directly up against the base of the tree or shrub. The moisture it retains can cause rot.


When you’re finished planting, watering, and mulching you should regularly check the moisture content in the soil. It’s probably not needed as often in the Winter, but during extended dry periods, you may need to water – just don’t overwater. Adequate moisture content is just as important during the winter months as it is any other time of the year.

For additional tips regarding the trees and shrubs you are considering, it’s always a good idea to consult with a reputable local nursery to ensure you’re making the right choices for the successful growth of your plants.


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