How To Winterize Portland Landscaping

Many Portlanders believe winter is the time to hide indoors, hibernate, and wait out the long, long rainy season. We say, not so! There is plenty you can do to winterize Portland landscaping, making everything in your yard healthier and prettier come spring.

Teo next to the All Oregon landscaping van. Matching shirt and all.
Teo next to the All Oregon landscaping van. Matching shirt and all.

How To Winterize Portland Landscaping in 7 Steps

  1. Prep and winterize the irrigation system. We’ve seen many types of irrigation systems in Portland, but one thing never changes, if water is left inside then freezes and expands, you are in for a costly repair bill. Consult your specific irrigation system or let us send Chewbacca (AKA: Teo) out to help you winterize it. As our go to irrigation system expert, he can “blow out” the system and ensure no lingering water is left behind.
  2. Give the lawn a little TLC. First, rake up any leaves and yard debris. It can be used for mulching (see step 7). Then trim the grass to a slightly shorter length of 1.5 inches. Short grass will let all the rainy moisture escape a bit sooner, thus avoiding lawn problems associated with too much moisture.
  3. Put the soil to the test. We can’t recommend this enough. Collect a soil sample and take it to a nearby nursery to have them test it. Portland soil often contains a lot of clay which can put a damper on drainage and cause some plants to drown. Soil test result will allow you to research the best way to add compost and other needed nutrients to your soil.
  4. Keep up on care for year-round plants. Popular Portland plants like hollies, azaleas and other native species often stay green year round. For these plants continue the usual maintenance, like pruning branches that are growing across each other. Treat any insect problems, and keep an eye out on the amount of water it’s receiving – you know just in case there is a long dry spell in Portland. Can we say, unlikely?
  5. Do a little deadheading. A lot of Portland landscapes take advantage of how well hydrangeas and other flowering plants grow in the area. Deadheading refers to getting rid of the flower remnants, or the “head” of the flower. Make sure to take care of this on any flowering plants.  
  6. Plan on pruning – a little! Many plants become victims to over pruning in the winter. Homeowners or maintenance companies hack away the yard with electric clippers, giving little or no
    Mulch is a must.
    Mulch is a must.

    thought to how this harsh pruning will affect the flow of nutrients to the plant(s). Our best advice, prune gently! Remove any crossed branches and open up space near the heart of the plant. If you are uncertain, always call an expert (like us), we know all the ins and outs of popular Portland plants, flowers, and shrubs.  

  7. Make it last with mulch. In the fall, the Portland area has so much to offer in the way of creating your own mulch, that we don’t even recommend buying it. Collect leaves, grass clippings, and other fall yard debris to make your own mulch – here’s how. Don’t mulch until you’ve completed the first 6 steps, it helps protect the soil better that way. Think of mulch like the insulation in your house, it offers a protective barrier, evans temperatures, and helps keep invasive weeds and such out. All good things.

Whew, now that that is all done, head indoors for a nice warm cup of apple cider and prepare for the holiday season. With the yard looking so nice, maybe even consider a turkey roasted over the fire pit?

Winter is the Best Time to Plan a Landscape Overhaul

We feel like a broken record saying this year after year, but it is really true, winter gives both you and our landscape design team more than enough time to develop a one of a kind landscape for your Portland property. See some of our past designs for inspiration, then give us a call to speak to a designer today!

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