Winter weather can be wildly unpredictable. A day of snow may not hurt your garden. However, consecutive days of freezing conditions can affect your plants. That’s why it’s essential to protect your garden for the winter.
For one, frost injures your plants, and can compromise all the efforts you exerted ensuring your garden is as healthy and bountiful. Protecting your garden for the winter starts with a few things you need to remember, as well as precautionary steps you need to make.
Beyond covering them, here are other things you can do to prepare your plants for the winter.
Understand the weather
It’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Considering how cold weather can change easily, investing on a trusted thermometer and barometer is an effective first step. The next thing to do is to understand the temperatures to act fast and smart.
You can expect frost if temperatures hit below 32°F (0°C). Hard freeze happens if temperatures in the 25 to 28°F (-4 to -2°C), which can be very destructive to vegetation.
Arm your soil with the right material
Your garden becomes a battlefield come winter. So, consider your garden as your warrior that needs the finest armor it can have to withstand it.
Your soil needs the right protection to ensure your crops have a good fighting chance. Put a layer of organic matter before temperature drops further. Ideally, you’d want to use well-rotted compost or manure and spread them one to two inches thick. This is thick enough to keep the soil healthy and prevent erosion but also thin enough for hard frosts to penetrate and exterminate overwintering pests.
Clean up deceased and rotting plants
Removing spent plants is another way to protect your garden for the winter. This prevents pests from lurking your garden and laying eggs that could damage your healthy plants.
Remove the dead vegetation. If they are not infested with mold, blight or mildew, you can throw them into your compost to improve your soil’s health.
Water even when it’s winter
Some gardeners think that their gardens need little to no watering considering the weather. However, this is a misconception that may lead to your soil drying out and your plants dying.
Contrary to popular belief, moist soil provides more heat for plants. Moreover, winter watering protects evergreen and dormant plants during cold snaps. Just make sure to perform water irrigation 24 hours before hard-freezing weather arrives.
Also remember to protect your water features. Don’t let your pump freeze and remove ceramic watering systems indoors as soon as you drain them out.
Give extra care to sensitive trees
Newly planted trees are more prone to what gardeners call southwest injury or sunscald. So make sure you give extra attention to these sensitive trees so they can survive throughout the winter cold.
Stake the trees or use ties and strings to keep them stable. To know whether or not they would need the additional support, shake them gently from side to side. If you see the root move, then you’ll need to keep it staked throughout the season.
It’s all about being prepared so your plants can make it through the winter. Keep these tips in mind and learn more about other hardy house plants you can plant and take care of during this season.