Winter weather is highly unpredictable. Constantly shifting temperatures and unexpected cold snaps can their toll on the plants in your landscape, ruining all your summer and spring efforts. Although many gardening enthusiasts take certain steps to protect their garden before the cold breeze sets in, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep your garden in check when winter arrives. It is pertinent to keep the garden your looking good while giving it the strength to survive the harsh winter season.
Here are a few ways to take care of your garden in the winter to protect your plants and minimize winter damage.
Prune And Weed
Although spring may seem a long way off, winter is an excellent time to remove weeds and clean up your garden to prep it for when the warmer season arrives. Get rid of any plants that have died, and prune shrubs and plants to encourage large shoots for the next growth season.
You will, however, have to be very careful when pruning your flowering shrubs and trees. Generally, the golden rule is to prune summer and autumn flowering shrubs and trees in the dormant season (late winter/early spring. Additionally, you should prune spring trees and shrubs right after their flowers fade.
Quite a bit of confusion can arise when it comes to plants, such as rose, hydrangeas, and clematis, since more of these flowers bloom in spring or summer, while others flower repeatedly.
Mulch As Much As You Can
Winter mulching offers many of the same benefits as summer mulching, including reducing water loss, repressing weeds, and protecting soil erosion. However, winter mulching has some additional advantages. For instance, as the soil transitions from warm to cold weather, the freezing and thawing of the earth have a negative impact on plants, whose roots suffer from heaving and churning. In such cases, adding a thick layer of mulch to the soil can help regulate temperatures and moisture, easing the transition of the plants into winter.
Spreading mulch around root vegetables in your garden can help protect them against hard frosts and prolong their growth. Moreover, as the mulch breaks down, it contributes fresh organic material to your soil. It is pertinent to remove weeds and clean up your garden beds before adding mulch.
Remember that winter mulching isn’t meant to remain in place throughout the year. As soon as your plants begin to grow, you must rake away some excess mulch to allow your plants’ crowns to be exposed.
Most people believe it’s pointless to water your garden in winter since most plants are dormant during the season. However, the truth is that there are many good reasons to irrigate your garden during winters.
Firstly, evergreen shrubs and trees lose a great deal of water due to the dry and cold winter weather, particularly on windy days. So, unless there’s adequate rainfall, these plants will require extra irrigation at least once a month to keep their soil moist during winter.
Secondly, even some dormant plants can benefit from winter irrigation, as many plants continue to actively grow their roots even when their canopy is stagnant.
Lastly, the more moisture soil has, the more it will protect dormant and evergreen plants during the cold months. Moist soil holds more heat than dry soil, so the more the soil is dry during low temperatures, the more damage there will be to the plants’ roots.
The best way to deal with this is to keep an eye on the weather forecast and irrigate your garden at least 24 hours prior to the hard-freezing weather. Also, make sure to keep a check on plants in containers and under eaves since they tend to dry out faster.
Protect Sensitive Trees
Trees with smooth and thin barks can benefit from a trunk wrap during the late fall season to protect their trunk against a condition known as the sunscald. This condition damages the trees by the alternate freezing and thawing of the water in the part of the trunk that is exposed to the afternoon sun. Protect your young and thin-barked trees during winter by wrapping them in a commercial protective material. However, you must remember to remove the trunk wraps during spring to avoid damage.
Another problem that arises during winter is the stabilization of newly planted trees. Young trees require stabilization to grow and thrive, which is difficult during winter. However, in the cases of some trees, you can achieve this through staking. However, you must first determine which trees require staking. To do this, gently shake the tree from side to side, keeping an eye on its base. If you see the rootball move, you must stake the tree.
Beat The Winter Blues
There’s a reason they are called ‘winter blues.’ Winter is known for its short days, grey skies, and extremely dull color palette. If you don’t want to spend the cold months surrounded by dullness, you can brighten up your life by adding splashes of color to your garden. There are various winter flowers that can liven up your garden by adding some much-needed color. If this is your first time planting winter flowers, hellebores and cyclamens are a good place to start.
Plant Winter Trees
Winter is an excellent time to plant deciduous trees. Since these trees become dormant during the season, it is perhaps, the ideal time to transport and replant them. However, you will just need to ensure that you improve the soil by adding some compost when you plant them. Also, adding some organic fertilizer at the end of winter can also help support new spring growth.
Winter doesn’t necessarily have to mean plant damage. You can save your garden from the harsh weather conditions and maybe even have it looking great during winters by taking steps before and during the cold weather season. We hope that the tips mentioned above help you take care of your garden in the winter to ensure that it remains healthy and protected throughout the season.