How To Winterize Your Desert Landscaping

Posted on: 15 October 2015

Have you recently moved to a warmer climate and don't know how to prepare your yard for winter? Are you concerned that you don't know how to protect your plants during cold weather? If you're new to the Southwest, here are some tips on winterizing your desert landscaping:  

Schedule a pruning before the first frost: Many people new to Southwest living wrongfully assume that desert plants need little care. In fact, ornamental grasses such as Mexican Thread Grass, Deer Grass, or Pink Muhly Grass need to be cut back six inches from the ground so that new growth will occur in the spring. Succulents such as Agave, Ocotillo, Yucca, or Desert Spoon can be harmed by too much pruning, and only damaged or dead areas should be removed. A branch on a palm tree that crosses the other branches needs to be cut off so it doesn't stunt spring growth, and all dry fronds should be removed. Hiring an expert with the proper safety equipment will ensure your plants are trimmed without stunting future growth. It will also free you from worrying about encountering any sharp spines or thorns commonly found in desert landscaping

Have your watering system checked: If your desert landscape uses drip irrigation, hire a professional to thoroughly examine the entire arrangement. They will check the water flow to make sure that each plant is getting the right amount of water at the correct time. Succulents and other plants that store water in their leaves can burst in the winter if over-watered, The freezing temperatures cause the water to expand and crack the leaves open. The landscaping expert will also check to make sure your system is buried deep enough so that the irrigation pipes aren't damaged should a freeze occur. They'll also check your timer so that your plants aren't sprayed with icy cold water at dawn. 

Learn which plants need protection from frost or freezing: Although some desert plants can survive any kind of weather, others need special attention during the winter. Schedule a consultation with a landscaper so they can walk you around your yard and point out which plants need protection. Make sure to ask the best methods of covering your plants. They may recommend using disposable cups on the tips of cacti, or suggest that clay pots provide the warmth necessary to your climate. Make sure to ask if you can use plastic sheeting around the base of your plants. They may tell you that your area gets so much winter moisture that plastic should be avoided and fabric bed sheets are preferable.