Winterizing Your Landscape

Hello Friends and neighbors! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and didn’t drive each other crazy during the process. Black Friday? My car stays in the driveway, sorry consumerism. Anyways, I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about, “How do I prepare my yard for the winter?” and even, “When do I shut everything down and pretend there’s nothing to do until May?” Hhmm… well, I’ll do my best to answer some of these questions but please understand there’s a million different theories and practices out there so always be your own advocate. Let’s start with my experiences:

Irrigation: Cold can really dry things out. Unlike up North, here in Charleston we typically do not shut down our irrigation completely and blow the lines out unless it’s a property where nobody will be around for several months. If your system is on city water make sure your backflow device has a freeze protection bag over it or some type of anti-freeze device. These can be purchased at places like Site One, (who I recommend.) If you have a well and pump system make sure there is a housing over the pump and you may even consider draining the pump and shutting it down if you plan on being away a long time. I like to water with drip irrigation on the plants before a freeze. This will help protect the plant from shriveling up. If you don’t have an irrigation system water with the hose at the roots a few gallons per plant. Turn off irrigation timers before a freeze so that sprinklers don’t create a huge mess and icy conditions. Normal operation in non freezing conditions and watering once a week will help things snap back in the spring in my opinion.

Plants and Lawns: Despite maintaining the irrigation, this is a great time to do other things to lawns like removing thatch with a leaf rake, aerating the lawn so that soil doesn’t get compacted from the cold, adding topsoil to low spots, etc.

Plants: each species has it’s own special needs, (too many to list here,) so before you decide to cut back the entire yard make sure you do a quick internet search on each plant. You don’t want to cut things that are going to produce blooms, etc. Next time at the hardware store be sure to grab some tarps and things to cover your prize plants in case of a freeze. Don’t wait till the last second.

The last thing I recommend for winterizing is get out there and remove weeds and do any tree work or things that need attention while it’s comfortable to work outside. We usually get a few warm days during the week here and there.

Okay everyone, enjoy the holidays and I’ll talk with you next year! Aloha!

Charlie Stonecypher is the owner of Suncoast Irrigation and Landscaping. They specialize in products that work  smart without wasting resources.  Contact him at (843) 327-8642 or email

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