Prepping Your Hillsboro Landscaping for Winter Rains

October 26, 2015

Hillsboro Landscaping Winter is coming, and we want to help Portland-metro and Hillsboro homeowners, who enjoy landscaping and gardening, get ready for the upcoming months. Today, we’re taking a special look at the city of Hillsboro. Like gardeners everywhere, Hillsboro landscapers can benefit from pre-planning for upcoming seasons. In addition to general tips on planning for winter’s rainfall and general moisture, we discuss how different species respond to winter rains.

As a graduate of Hillsboro High School, I am intimately familiar with the landscaping concerns of the area. Let’s take a look at how to help a Hillsboro yard thrive this winter.

Winter in Hillsboro. Although summers in Hillsboro are typically warm, local weather is moderated year-round by the marine influence of the Pacific Ocean. Hillsboro is located in the Willamette Valley, and as such, it receives most of its precipitation during the winter months. The wettest period is between November and March, which also includes the occasional snowfall. On average, Hillsboro receives precipitation 161 days per year.

Hillsboro Garden DesignRight Plant, Right Place. Gardeners have long been fond of this saying. Wet, moist spots are among the trickiest to handle, so the idea here is to select plants that are suited to wet locations. As your local Hillsboro landscape contractors, we are happy to provide specific plant suggestions. One overarching tip is to favor native plants (such as Red-Twig Dogwood, Pacific Nine Bark, trees such as Pear, Red Maple, and Oregon Ash), as they tend to flourish in Hillsboro’s hot summers and wet winters. The other tip is to understand your hardiness zone.

Drainage options. Drainage is a problem, especially given the area’s natural clay soils, but this is further compounded when developers don’t spend enough time planning for drainage around new homes. Also, construction crews can be guilty of compacting the soil, or not amending the soil properly before planting trees and shrubs. You can consider adding grading and slopes to your landscaping, as our experts tend to discover more drainage problems on flat surfaces. You can also arrange for soil tests and probes to test your drainage. Again, feel free to call on us for expert design advice. Drainage solutions also include the construction and use of French drains, Flo-Wells and retention swales as well as other drainage systems.

Rain Garden Design for Portland LadnscapingPlanting. Too often, plants are placed too low in the ground, and this also causes problems such as root rot. Azaleas and rhododendrons are susceptible to root rot due to too-low of placement in the soil. Understanding the right depth for planting is vital to a plant’s ability to survive. Plants should be planted where the branches meet the root crown—ensure that this point is slightly above the soil surface. And, yes, we can help you with both garden design and plant selection!

Amending. Amending the soil may be necessary, but be aware that if you add excessive sand or gravel in an attempt to improve drainage, the soil may become too dry in the summer. Mulching the clay soil with organic matter also helps with drainage, while also balancing the soil pH.

Fruit Trees. Fruit trees can be susceptible to moisture problems. In fact, the trees can get apple and pear scabs or leaf spots/blight. To prevent this, we recommend keeping the area beneath fruit trees free of debris. This will help improve air circulation, which helps prevent leaf spot or blight. It is also recommend to hand prune your fruit trees during wet weather. This is more effective than shearing for stopping the spread of water-based pathogens.

Mold and Rot. Mold, rot, and other threats have the potential to affect your long-term landscaping plans. Once again, thinking ahead is likely to mitigate problems. For example, planning and constructing your French drain before bad weather hits is far preferable to dealing with a flooded lawn in the middle of a storm.

Landscape East & West can help. Think ahead and give us a call today. We are more than happy to take a look at your situation and get back to you with our expert opinion. We have years of experience dealing with drainage solutions, winter landscaping preparation and much more.

Hillsboro Landscaping ProfessionalContributing author Eric Johansson specializes in lawn care maintenance at Landscape East & West, Portland landscaping and design professionals. From irrigation assessment to leaf cleanup, our team has your lawn’s best health in mind. Learn more about our lawn care services at LandscapeEast.com