Landscaping Tips for New Jersey Winters

Winter is here. Looking outside your window, you might not think that there is any need to worry about your landscaping until the spring thaw hits. But, that’s not true. There are several ways to prepare your lawn and other landscaping so it can survive through the winter and be ready to flourish once spring returns.

© Andrew Kazmierski - Fotolia.comFertilize

Before the winter officially hits, the lawn should be given one last fertilization treatment. The lawn will store the nutrients in its roots and take full advantage of them in the springtime.

Preparing the lawn

As the cold weather approaches be sure to lower the mowing height of the lawnmower. As the winter nears there should be no young grass that likely can’t survive a cold winter. Also be sure to clear the lawn of debris such as large sticks and fallen leaves. Don’t allow large objects such as toys to sit on the grass all winter long. Any object that sits on top of the grass for an extended period of time will smother the lawn and leave it vulnerable to diseases.


Before the first freeze hits, be sure to aerate the lawn. Aerating will provide a solid foundation for a lush lawn in spring. Be sure to brush some fine, horticultural-grade sand into the holes to prevent them from closing. Then spread some topsoil over the top to improve drainage.

Prevent foot traffic

A brown lawn isn’t a free pass to walk on it excessively. Try to limit foot traffic as much as possible because a lawn has a difficult time recovering from worn-in paths. In order to prevent people from using the lawn as a walkway, be sure to keep sidewalks free of snow and ice. Also, don’t allow visitors to use the lawn as a parking lot. This can easily kill the grass and encourage weed growth.

Trim shrubs, hedges, and trees

The onset of winter is the perfect time to trim back perennial plants, shrubs, and hedges. If the trees on your property need to be trimmed, you should do that as well. Consider using a professional landscaper or tree removal company for these jobs unless you are confident in your pruning skills as this can be a difficult and potentially dangerous task.


This time of year is an ideal time to mulch your planting beds. Be sure to lay down 1.5 to 2 inches of mulch. The mulch will act as insulation throughout the cold months, so the depth of the mulch will act as protection for the roots of the flowers that are planted. Be sure to avoid mulching over trunks of shrubs and trees, as too much moisture can build up and cause root rot.

Wraps and shelters

Many plants and shrubs can be harmed by the cold and harsh winds and temperatures of winter. To effectively protect your garden landscaping when it’s cold, cover them with wraps or shelters. Shelters for shrubs can either be purchased at a local landscaping store or built from natural materials. Evergreen shrubs generally provide some visual interest in the winter and you might not want to cover them up. On particularly cold days, they can be wrapped in burlap netting that can be purchased at any local hardware store.

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