End-Of-Season Landscape First Aid
Treat your yard to a little love to ease winter recovery
After a rough winter, your yard will likely need a little TLC. Here's what you can do to cure some common ailments.
Diagnosis: Sun scald
It occurs when normally winter-dormant tree cells get heated back into action by direct sunlight and then are killed by chilly nighttime temperatures.
Cut away the affected bark with a utility knife, rounding off the edges. Don't cover wounds while they heal—it can encourage bacteria and fungi growth. In the fall, ward off damage by insulating the trunk with tree wrap.
Diagnosis: Frost heave
Freeze-thaw cycles cause the soil to expand and contract, pushing roots above ground, even ones that were well established.
When the soil thaws, replant and replace the topsoil. To prevent a future upheaval, mulch around plants in the fall so that winter soil temperatures will stay more even.
Diagnosis: Winter burn
Sunny, windy weather dries out and discolors leaves and needles, and evergreens, which don't go fully dormant, can't get the water they need from frozen soil.
Brown foliage is likely dead, but the branches' buds may have survived. Wait for them to open, then prune away only the damage. Next fall, water evergreens deeply until the ground freezes.