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Are you ready for winter? 5 tips to prepare your garden this winter
Plants are genetically able to detect atmospheric shifts and proactively adapt to them. However, higher winter temperatures stimulate growth and flowering, and cooler temperatures slow growth. Preparing your garden when the temperature drops below freezing is important to ensure it bounces back strong in the spring. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, these tips will help protect delicate plants and optimize soil health.
Protect Flowering Plants
- While plants usually survive the cold winter weather, the flowers on winter-flowering plants like camellias, plum, and cherry trees are in danger. A severe freeze can harm buds when they are swollen and about to bloom. The damage may not be apparent until the flowers open, revealing brown spots on the petals.
Sometimes, the entire bud might freeze and fall off the plant. Fully bloomed flowers may turn an unhealthy brown or drop to the ground. It’s advisable to cover plants with buds and open flowers using an old sheet or a commercially available frost cover to protect flowers. Avoid using plastic, as it can create an oven effect when exposed to sunlight.
Prune Your Plants
- Take advantage of the winter season to prune your plants. It’s an ideal time to focus on shaping young deciduous trees for better structure. Observing the tree’s form and addressing issues like crossing wood is easier without leaves. Additionally, once the flower buds have set, winter is the perfect time for hydrangea pruning.
Trim the old wood and prune the shrubs back to the healthy, plump flower buds for a vibrant display in the coming year. In addition, winter is the essential period for pruning roses. After pruning, apply a seaweed-based product to condition the soil. This helps in drought tolerance and enhances resistance to frost, pests, and diseases, ensuring your plants thrive.
- As winter sets in, taking time to de-weed your garden is advisable. Unchecked weed growth can become a significant issue. Early winter is the perfect opportunity to address them. Remove weeds from the root, especially those growing through paving joints.
While weed killers are an option, consider eco-friendly alternatives to minimize environmental impact. Keep in mind if you are spraying chemicals too close to your garden border, it can affect neighboring plant growth.
Protect Your Garden from Water Damage
- As the risk of heavy rain increases, protecting your garden from flooding and water-logging becomes crucial. Enhance your soil through year-round cultivation to safeguard your plants from rot and decay during downpours. Consider using raised beds to elevate plants out of harm’s way, providing an additional layer of protection with stone walling for both practicality and style.
Prevent further flooding by installing permeable paving, allowing water to drain swiftly instead of pooling. For a well-maintained lawn, rake off leaves and aerate using a garden fork to create intervals in the grass, ensuring proper water drainage and a healthy, thriving garden.
Add Organic Mulch
- Mulching is an eco-friendly gardening practice, especially effective when using the right materials. Consider covering your garden beds with thick organic substances like mulch or wood chippings.
This protective layer protects plants from freezing temperatures and helps minimize soil erosion caused by winter rainfall. Organic mulching is essential for a healthier and more sustainable garden.
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