Think gardening is just for warmer weather? Surprise! You can garden through the winter for a hardier, more beautiful garden come spring and for year-round enjoyment. We’ve compiled tips to keep your garden going strong this winter. Learn how and when to tend your garden throughout the coldest season.
Protect Plants from Winter Damage
You’ve worked hard to grow and tend your garden. The last thing you want to see is all that time, effort, and money go to waste! Take these steps to protect your plants from winter weather:
· Monitor the weather for any sudden overnight drops in temperature. Plants adapt gradually to cooling weather, but a sudden plummet can hurt even the hardiest plants.
· Continue to water your evergreens as their leaves naturally lose moisture this time of year and can be dried out by sun and wind. Give your evergreen plenty of water before the soil freezes and again during warm spells when the soil thaws.
· Find a Provider to wrap young trees with two feet of tree wrap minimum before temperatures reach freezing. This helps to prevent sunscald which occurs when the bark splinters after a sudden drop in temperature. Remove the tree wrap in early to mid-spring.
· Protect buds on hydrangeas, roses, clematis, and figs by adding a mixture of one-half good soil and one-half compost or manure. This will help insulate against the cold.
· Cycles of freezing and thawing cause the ground to expand and contract. This can cause roots to break, so layer four to six inches of mulch and organic material in fall after the soil has frozen slightly. This helps keep the soil frozen throughout the winter, preventing a wide variance in temperature.
· Mulch six to twelve inches of organic matter like straw to help prevent a deep freeze on vegetables.
Grow Plants Through the Winter
Winter doesn’t have to stop your plants from growing. Outsmart Mother Nature’s frosty days with these gardening techniques.
· Bring your garden inside. Potted plants can come inside for the winter, or you can start an indoor garden by going on a houseplant shopping spree.
· Make sure your light-loving plants have access to sunlight. You’ll also want to use containers with proper drainage.
· Keep plants at the right temperature by having a smart thermostat installed.
· Create an herb garden with basil, cilantro, thyme, sage, rosemary, and more.
· Grow indoor fruits like tomatoes, Mandarin oranges, pomegranates, and varieties of lime and grapefruit.
· Use cloches as miniature greenhouses over small sections of garden. Place them over pansies, snap dragons, and similar plants. Deeply mulch around the covered plants for extra insulation and to anchor the cloche against winter winds.
· Cover young roses, autumn-planted perennials, and hardy vegetables using burlap and boxes. Put these in place before the winter storms start up to protect your plants through the entire winter.
· Find a Provider to assemble a small greenhouse for your garden and move the plants inside.
When and Why to Prune Your Trees
Late winter is usually a good time to prune all types of trees.
· Have young trees pruned, redirect branches, and direct the framework to encourage the shape you want.
· Have mature trees pruned to enhance their health, appearance, and productivity. You can remove low limbs to allow more light to pass through, benefitting plants otherwise blocked by the tree’s shade.
· Have woody plants pruned in late winter before new growth emerges. You’ll be able to see the framework more easily before the leaves come in.
· Remove dead, dying, diseased, and damaged branches to keep the tree healthy.
· If one side is denser than the other, prune to balance both sides.
When and Why to Prune Your Shrubs/Vines
Pruning shrubs and vines can increase flowering, enhance their forms, control the size of the plant, and revive a neglected, overgrown shrub.
· Wait until late winter to prune flowering shrubs. Take this chance to thin out any crowded growth, but don’t remove wood on the verge of bloom.
As a general rule, plants that bloom in spring are pruned in summer while plants that bloom in summer are pruned in winter. Plants to prune in winter include:
· Climbing hydrangea
· Red twig dogwood
· Butterfly bush
· Crape myrtle
To prune regularly, you’ll need to keep pruners, a folding pruning saw, and a ladder handy. If you don’t have the tools or the time to prune your plants on your own, a Provider on Takl can help. Providers bring their own tools and arrive at the time you set. Click here to get started with your Takl chore.