How to Prepare The Garden for Winter

As the temperature drops in autumn, it's time to prepare your garden for winter. As the weather gets colder, it seems that there is not much happening in your yard. However, many things can happen in the soil before it freezes. This is especially true for newly planted trees and shrubs, branches of perennial plants, and cold resistant spring bulbs. All these plants are busy taking root to fix themselves underground. Earthworms and soil microorganisms are also playing a role in processing organic substances into nutrients needed by plants. In this article, Olle will tell you the 5 steps to help your plants cope with cold months.

raised garden bed

1. Cover The Perennials

Perennials come back year after year, as long as they are hardy where you live. Cold hardy plants don't require much effort to prepare for winter. However, if there is a large amount of freezing and thawing in your area during the whole season, please pay attention to frost heaving. This means that the soil will actually push plants out of the ground, especially new plants that do not have many roots. To prevent this, once the ground freezes, add a 6-inch layer of chopped leaves, straw, or other mulch around the perennials. This will help to balance the soil temperature, especially if your area does not always have snow cover throughout the winter.

Sometimes the dead leaves of plants themselves help protect their crowns and roots from the cold, so please keep them in place until next spring. Many perennial plants (such as sedum, echinacea and ornamental grass) look beautiful in winter. In addition, their seeds help feed birds and other wild animals. However, if you prefer a cleaner garden, it is OK to cut perennial plants to the ground after the frost has withered their leaves. Just make sure you add a layer of mulch to help protect them.

2. Protect Annuals from Frost

Unlike perennial plants that return each year, annual plants only live in the garden for one season and cannot survive in freezing temperatures. Some are called cold season annuals, which means they prefer to grow and bloom at lower temperatures. These include ornamental kale, blue lobelia and goldfish grass. On the other hand, annual plants like hot weather in warm season. Thyme, Tagetes erecta and Impatiens balsamina belong to this category.

You can extend the life of these two types of yearbooks by keeping the old sheets or floating row covers to easily cover them during light frost. Keep watering for a year until the freezing temperatures kill them. If your annual plants are in containers, move them to a garage or other protected space when the predicted temperature drops to more than 40 degrees overnight. You can do this until the daytime temperature is no longer above this threshold.

raised garden bed

3. Dig Up Tender Bulbs

Autumn is the time to plant cold resistant spring flowering bulbs, but there are other types of plants called tender bulbs. These include popular summer flowering plants such as gladiolus, canna and dahlia. If you live where the ground freezes, these tropical plants will not survive the winter. However, if you want to keep these plants for another year, you can take them indoors.

Wait until the frost turns the leaves brown, then gently dig out the bulbs or tubers. Cut the leaves and brush away as much soil as possible. Avoid washing with water, as damp will cause the bulb to rot during storage. Let them dry in the open in the shade for about a week. Label them so you can remember what they are. One trick is to use a permanent marker to write their names on them, such as the Dahlia tubers shown here. They are then packaged in breathable containers, such as cardboard boxes. Cover them with sawdust or old newspapers to prevent the bulbs from touching, and then place them in the garage, basement or other places where the temperature is lower than 45 ° F but will not freeze.

4. Pamper Trees and Shrubs

If you make sure they are in good condition, your trees and shrubs will be easier to survive the winter. For evergreen and deciduous trees, one of the most important things is to give them enough water before the ground freezes, especially when it is dry in autumn. After the ground freezes, sprinkle organic materials such as 6-inch thick chopped leaves. This helps to keep water in the soil (plants need it even in winter) and protects the roots from freezing and thawing. Trim any damaged or diseased limbs to prevent snow storms from making these problems worse. For young evergreen trees in exposed locations, use a burlap screen or shading cloth to protect them from the dry winter wind.

raised garden bed

5. Bind The Roses

Roses are so beautiful that it's hard to envy the attention they need during the growing season. As the cool weather brings their dormancy, you have one last thing to do: get them ready for winter. Some types of roses are harder than others, so it's important to know what kind of roses you have. As a population, hybrid tea roses are most vulnerable to the cold in winter and need the most preparation; The easiest roses to plant and care for are bush roses. Make sure to give all your roses plenty of water before the ground freezes, but do not fertilize or cut them. In order to protect the root ball from frost heaving, additional soil is piled around the root. In Zone 6 and colder areas, add a layer of 6 to 12 inches of straw, leaves, or other mulch to the top of the mound and secure it with a loop of wire mesh.