Winter Grounds Maintenance Checks
Winter poses the harshest challenge for our green environment – as well as the wildlife which inhabits it. Often, the aftermath of wintry conditions can be tough to recover from, but there are plenty of ways for you to look after your outdoor space during the winter, minimising the cleanup work you’ll need to do in the spring.
In this article, we’re looking at some of the essential winter grounds maintenance checks you can perform to keep your grounds in good condition and your green fingers busy in the snow.
General gardening tasks:
With the leaves fallen and your trees looking bare, the winter is actually a good time to do some pruning – particularly for fruit trees – most notably apple and pear trees. If you’re looking to maximise fruit harvest in the future, being able to see the shape of your tree and pruning at this time of year is immensely useful, so make this job a priority.
Digging over your soil
You won’t be able to get started on your new planting regime in the spring if your soil is frozen solid, but you can prevent this from happening with some simple due diligence. Dig over your beds in the winter – before the ground gets frozen or waterlogged. Dig and fork the soil, and add some organic material in there to improve structure and moisture retention. When it comes time to plant some veg in the spring – or create a new flower bed – you’ll see some wonderful results.
Repairing fences and timber structures
Fences can take a battering in the winter, suffering damage from excess moisture, string winds and the weight of settled snow. If your fence panels or gates are already worse for wear, spend some time making essential repairs to make sure they’re strong enough for the cold snap. This might mean bolstering fence posts and individual panels.
Larger grounds maintenance checks:
For high-traffic locations – such as retail or business parks – gritting is an essential winter task which should be carried out regularly. Icy roads present a serious safety risk to anyone visiting your premises, but routine gritting will keep roads safe when the temperatures plummet. John O’Conner provides proactive gritting services for sites large and small – our traffic light system prioritises gritting sites based on MET Office forecasts, so you’ll never be caught out by the cold.
Ensuring a safe, navigable route to your property is vital in the winter. Snow can pile up and present a tough obstacle for pedestrians, so when it settles on your paths it should be cleared as quickly as possible. For commercial and industrial sites, as well as open public areas, snowfall can grind things to a halt. A reactive snow clearance service, such as the one provided by John O’Conner, will keep things operating smoothly and safely no matter how much snow has fallen.
Filling up salt bins
Having salt bins on site is a convenient lifeline in the dead of winter, but finding them empty right before an icy night is immensely frustrating. Ensure that your salt bins are stocked up before conditions worsen by arranging for regular top ups for when your salt surplus is depleted. At John O’Conner, our teams can coordinate regular salt bin refills to keep you fully stocked throughout the entire winter season.
Other grounds maintenance checks:
Protect frosted lawns, soil and shrubs
Frozen lawns are fragile, so you should try to protect them as much as possible until springtime. Someone walking on frozen grass will do severe damage to the lawn, and while the grass will recover, it will take far longer. Erect signs telling people not to walk on the grass – adding extra lighting if you need to improve visibility.
For shrubs, herbs and allotments, you can take a more active role in preservation. You can cover empty beds to protect the soil, protect delicate plants – such as thyme – with cloches. If you have some herbs in containers, you can bring them inside your home or greenhouse, or you can leave them outside but wrapped in bubble wrap or fleece.
Provide food for struggling wildlife
The outdoors would be nothing without thriving wildlife, so do your part during the gruelling winter months by lending them a hand. For birds, keep bird baths flowing and leave plenty of food – nuts, fat balls and seeds – around the property. If you have hedgehogs, why not create a den for them to use? Place some logs and leaves in corners of your garden for shelter, and you might just help them find a cosy place to hibernate.
John O’Conner provide a comprehensive range of grounds maintenance works for commercial and local authority clients across the UK. We can handle all manner of gardening maintenance jobs for a wide range of clients – including essential specific winter maintenance works. To arrange for both reactive and planned grounds maintenance services, contact us today – we pay meticulous attention to detail to help your entire outdoor environment thrive even in the toughest conditions.