Protecting Your Garden This Winter
Now that the cold weather is setting in, the leaves are falling of the trees and nights grow longer… it’s time to stop mowing the lawn, and start protecting your garden ready for the harsh conditions of winter. Planning what you will do ahead of time is essential in case you suddenly have a harsh night and need to take precautions. It will take a bit of hard work but it will be more than worth it when you come to next year.
The first thing you will need to do is to stop yourself from pruning back the more fragile plants you have in the garden. You may think that you are doing good by pruning the plant, but you are actually exposing the main root to harsh weather conditions. Instead, leave it as it is and the dead part of the plant will take the brunt of damage from frost.
Remember to take care of the other items you have in the garden other than plants. If you have a greenhouse, keep it ventilated in the winter as the sun will still come through and you will still get growth in there during the cold season. If you have any furniture in the garden, make sure you cover it up. You can buy chair covers, Weber Genesis grill cover, and even a covers for your pond to stop it freezing over completely.
If you have particularly vulnerable plants in your garden, you may want to wrap them up in fleece to stop the cold damaging their roots. If your plants do become exposed, shake them gently to release the snow, or use a broom on larger bushes and trees to rid the plant of snowfall. This will help to prevent the snow from weighing down your plants and causing them to break. If you have any plants which are in pots, you can either take them to the greenhouse or bring them indoors through the winter. If you do, make sure to place them where the sun is shining throughout to day.
If you experience a lot of heavy rainfall, sleet and hail in your garden you may want to make sure that any containers are well drained to prevent your plants becoming waterlogged and rotting. For the plant beds, apply a layer of mulch on the soil to prevent it becoming waterlogged.
Finally, for more hardy plants such as buddleia, pogonia and hydrangea, you can prune these back to prevent rotting throughout the winter. The trick to pruning the dead leaves and branches off plants such as this is to go two buds in. For example, if you look at a stem on your plants, you will see that at random intervals you get leaves growing out. It is two rows of these which you want to cut back for the winter. It may seem very drastic when you first do it, but these plants will grow back to their original size, maybe even bigger next year.