Winterizing Your Garden

March 15, 2019

Don’t let all of your hard gardening work go to waste come winter. Taking the steps to winterize your lawn can save your plants so they can come back in full bloom the next year. With just a few simple steps you can keep your garden alive and thriving for years to come. Don’t let your garden be damaged this winter!

Take Action Before Temperatures Drop

Before the freezing temperatures hit, make sure that your soil has plenty of residual moisture. If your garden hasn’t been exposed to much rainfall over the season, be sure to deeply water any landscape plants every week. You should continue this practice until the first hard freeze of winter.

Don’t Encourage New Growth Late in the Season

Be careful not to create new growth towards the ends of the season—this growth will not survive the cold temperatures at such a young stage. Adding fertilizer late in the fall will promote new growth in your garden—new growth that will soon die. You can also encourage growth by pruning trees or shrubs late in the season. If you do have trees or large shrubbery that has limbs that clearly need trimming—if they are weak or dead and could break off and fall, it may be dangerous. Especially if these limbs are above your house and could cause damage. If this is the case, these limbs should be cut before winter hits.

Mulching is Important

Winter mulch will help to prevent cold weather damage to any plants that grow above ground. Mulching is basically like a blanket for plants and their especially their roots. It will help to insulate soil from dropping temperatures. During the winter, plants stop their growth and put all of their nutrients in their roots to sustain life. As soil freezes and thaws through fluctuating temperatures, shallow-rooted plants can be pulled out of the ground or be damaged by the cold weather. All plants need protecting, but some will be more sensitive and vulnerable than others—for example, perennials or new plants or trees may need an extra layer of mulch for protection.

What to Do After the Weather Freezes

After the cold weather has hit and the first freeze has come, apply a few inches of compost or other organic mulch like straw, pine needles leaves, or hay evenly around your plants. Be sure to leave a few inches of space around the plant so that it won’t rod or attract rodents.

Damage from Winter Temperatures

In warm weather bark expands, in cold weather, it contracts—when this happens bark often splits. Living in a climate with extreme temperature change may leave your trees at risk. To protect trees, especially young or thin-barked trees, provide insulation by wrap the trunks with a trunk wrap. If there is a forecast for heavy snowfall or extreme cold, cover your plants with a canvas. Once it’s stopped snowing or the cold has passed, remove the covers and shake them off.