The winter can affect your garden in several ways. If you don’t prepare for the sudden drop in temperature your plants that aren’t resistant to cold stress may not survive winter, or your grass may not get enough moisture and dry out.
Here are some things you can do to keep your garden healthy in winter.
Protect Your Plants
A common occurrence we notice from working in the residential side of landscaping is damaged plants that result in poor preparation. Consider covering your plants with blankets, burlap, or other materials to protect them from the cold weather. Even when it’s chilly outside, make sure your plants get enough water. Check the water and soil moisture levels at regular intervals as needed.
It is a good idea to bring potted plants indoors. Place them near windows as per their sun requirements. If you have sensitive outdoor plants that can’t move indoors you might want to build a simple, temporary greenhouse for cold-sensitive plants.
Mulch Your Beds
Our landscaping experts recommend adding a layer of mulch to your soil it’s a great way to insulate it and protect your plants from temperature fluctuations. Mulching also helps suppress weeds, retain moisture, and prevent soil erosion. In addition, mulch feeds the beneficial microbes in your soil with nutrients. The waste from these organisms improves soil structure. Lay a three-inch layer of mulch. Do not mulch on top of the crown of your perennials.
Prune Shrubs and Trees
Winter is the right time to trim deciduous trees. You will want to cut the limbs of winter-damaged trees sooner rather than later to prevent further damage. If you have roses in your garden, prune them before their leaves start to emerge to give them a better structure to grow into.
Improper pruning can do more harm than good. It can cause irreversible damage to your trees. Here are some best practices from our residential landscapers:
- Use the right pruning tools. We advise using loppers for trees, climbing vines, and large shrubs. Lopping shears are ideal for branches up to 1½ inches in diameter. Use hand and pole saws for branches up to 4 inches in diameter.
- When pruning a tree, make cuts on the branch side of the stem collar, which grows from the stem. This prevents damage to the growing branches and allows the tree to heal more effectively.
- Make pruning a priority. Do not wait to prune until your trees and plants are overgrown.
- To prevent bark damage cutting, use the three-cut method. First, make a tiny wedge-shaped cut under the branch. Next, cut off the branch 6-12 inches from the wedge. Finally, cut parallel to the branch side of the stem collar.
Keep Your Garden Clean
Remove debris such as dead plants and fallen leaves that can block natural light and smother your plants. Remember to clean any support structures, such as trellises or bean stakes. Destroy weeds before they gain a foothold.
Sweetwater Landscape is committed to helping homeowners maintain a healthy, disease-free garden. Our landscape design experts have years of experience transforming ordinary gardens into dreamy outdoor spaces with aesthetically pleasing water features. To schedule a visit with our residential landscaping division call (707) 887-0140.