Winter weather in Texas can fluctuate on a daily basis, making some days feel like it’s already springtime. Though it may seem strange, the irregular weather patterns provide a great opportunity to improve your home’s landscaping by planting trees or shrubs. This early planting allows Texas homeowners financial and environmental benefits to improve your curb appeal while allowing added time for plants to establish root systems before the spring growing period. Tree planting, believe it or not, is a landscaping investment that according to the USDA Forest Service, adds 10 percent to your home’s value once healthy and mature.
Why you should plant:
When temperatures drop, plants are still able to grow when the soil temperature is 40 degrees or higher which, for most of the Brazos River basin, could be most of winter. The need to water can be largely reduced allowing the newly bought tree/shrub to thrive. Adding mulch around the base allows you to conserve water and can propel growth to the roots just in time for spring.
Mulch is affordable and insulates the tree roots from the cold weather while retaining moisture within the soil and promoting a healthy tree. Plants including grass don’t need the amount of water during the winter months that is necessary in the summertime. Because of this, it is important to note that over-watering in the winter can wind up killing your plants. The U.S. Department of Energy states that three properly placed trees can cut energy bills by up to $250 a year. By planting now, you’ll receive a good return on investment down the road.
Here are some tips for planting during the winter:
- Before digging, be sure to keep in mind the potential full-grown size. Have a few inches of space on all sides. Avoid digging too deep.
- Plant the tree or shrub above the surrounding soil.
- When placing the tree or shrub inside the hole, carefully hold it by the root ball, not the trunk.
- Cover the root ball with the same soil that was used to dig the hole.
- Water the new tree or shrub thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots filling air pockets.
- Do not fertilize after planting. Too much fertilizer can kill the plant.
- Add a layer of mulch at the base. This helps combat weeds and retains the moisture from the soil.
By following these steps, your new tree or shrub will add curb appeal, help you save on future energy bills, and provide a home to wildlife.
For more information on how to properly select and care for trees, please go here.
The Brazos River Authority offers a variety of mulch for sale to the public to utilize for their yards including decorative mulch appropriate for trees. For information, go here.