How to protect my plants from the winter cold

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What’s the best way to protect my plants this winter?

As winter approaches, our summer wardrobe has been put away and the thicker sweaters, socks, scarves and boots are coming out. Just as we need to cover up for winter in order to stay warm, so too do the plants in our garden. We’re often asked ‘how to protect my plants from the winter cold’?

Many plants will succumb to frost or cold, wet soil if they haven’t been protected. Therefore, it is important that you prepare for the winter before it becomes too frosty. By planning ahead, you will have healthy, thriving plants next year.

What sort of garden do you have?

Before you start work, you need to take into consideration how exposed your garden is. If you have a sheltered garden, most of your plants won’t need to be protected.

However, you will need to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Even the most sheltered plants can be irreparably damaged by a unexpected hard frost.

Blog inside image Stock Gardens How to protect my plants from the winter coldGeneral protection advice

A layer of mulch or bark compost can be applied to any herbaceous borders to keep plants warm. This mulch will break down over the course of the winter, improving drainage and adding nutrients to the soil.

You will also need to add grit around the plants or too much moisture may build up, rotting their stems. It’s also a good idea to take cuttings of your plants that can be cultivated indoors just in case your outdoor plants succumb during an excessively harsh winter.

Tender plants

Tender plants simply won’t survive the cold, wet weather that winter brings. Therefore, you will need to cut back, lift and store them, either in a dormant state or with a covering of mulch. Plants that will require this type of protection include herbaceous perennials such as canna, gladioli and dahlias.

When it comes to certain tender plants such as tree ferns or bananas, it’s really not practical to lift or move them over the winter. The best method of protecting them over the winter is to wrap them up.

Winter wrappings should be sorted before the frost hits, so anytime between September and November. Use materials such as hessian, straw, bracken, fleece or polystyrene to insulate your tender plants.

Frost proof containers

Make sure you choose frost proof pots or you may end up with cracked containers. At the first sign of frost, containers can be brought indoors or moved to a shed or greenhouse over the winter for protection.

Protect against snow

Believe it or not, snow actually acts as an insulator, which can protect plants from the cold. However, the weight of a heavy layer of snow can cause plants, leaves and branches to break, causing a lot of damage.

If there is a heavy snow over winter, you should:

Shake off any excess snow from tree branches, hedges and shrubs

Remove heavy layers of snow from the roof of your cold frame or greenhouse. Otherwise, light won’t be able to get in and the weight of the snow could end up damaging the structure

Avoid walking on snow covered grass. The weight will damage the lawn and could result in fungal diseases

If you are confused or concerned that you don’t have enough time to prepare your garden for the winter months, you can call on Stock Gardens. We can help you protect your outside spaces before the cold weather hits.

Simply call the team at Stock Gardens on 01277 652 594.

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