As the year draws to a close, the winter months can be harsh on our gardens and greenery, which is why we must take special care of our trees, shrubs, and surroundings to keep them thriving and ready for spring. Trees and plants can quickly become damaged by violent winds and merciless frosts, and this damage may result in a permanent stunt of growth or, worst case scenario – the death of the entire plant.
When looking after your plants during these colder months, it’s important we research the best methods of care and avoid winging the process. This is especially essential for species of trees and plants that may usually grow in warmer climates and are not used to cold temperatures, snow, and frost. During winter, plant owners require special guidance to ensure they don’t use an incorrect procedure that may injure the plant in the long run. We have put together our best tips and tricks to keep your garden looking its best through the festive season and year-round.
Invest in Mulch
Mulch is an amazing all-rounder for protecting our gardens through colder temperatures. It’s great for flower beds, trees, and potted plants. Mulch works by providing layering of protection to the soil where your plants grow, which prevents the roots from getting the brunt of the cold and frost. Roots are the life source of your plant, and if the roots are not getting the protection or nutrition they need, the rest of the plant will show the signs.
Lay down mulch during autumn before the winter frost hits. Apply it to the soil of your flower beds, around your trees, and cover the soiled area of your potted plants. Your plants will thank you for it later.
Prune Your Hedges
During winter months, hedges can begin to look thin and scraggly as the bush begins to lose its leaves. To avoid unsightly hedges through the festive season, prune back the branches of the plant to give it a fuller, more defined body. Be especially careful not to over-prune your hedges as the cold sets in, as this can cause damage to the plant, may stunt growth in the future, and may look unsightly in your garden.
If you don’t have the correct tools in order to prune your hedges sufficiently, it may work to enlist the help of a professional. Finding a gardener can be as simple as a quick google search or a recommendation from a friend.
Move Your Potted Plants
As the days and nights become colder, it’s essential that we move our vulnerable potted plants away from harm. Not all potted plants can survive the winter frost and violent winds, so it’s important we move them into a warmer, more sheltered space. This could be a greenhouse, the porch of your home, or another sheltered area.
Leaving potted plants that are meant for warmer climates outdoors can cause significant damage that they may not be able to recover from.
Protect your Patio
Patio and decking may look tough and sturdy, but leaving it unprotected during the winter time can actually cause a lot of damage that will continue to worsen over time. Before the colder months roll in, sufficiently maintain your surface by sweeping away any dirt and debris. Removing dirt from your patio or decking can prevent mould, algae, and fungus from forming. These growths can be particularly detrimental to wood decking, causing rot, and to the grout or cement between patio slabs.
Once sweeping your garden surface, it’s just as important to clean and seal it. Depending on the material of your patio, you may wish to use a pressure washer. Avoid using a pressure washer on wood decking and materials such as natural stone and brick, as this can cause damage. Instead, use a heavy-duty bristle broom and some gentle washing-up detergent, and warm water. Once scrubbed, simply wash away any remnants using your garden hose or a bucket of clean water.
Once your surface is dry, it’s important to invest in the correct sealant for the material and seal the area. This will keep your patio and decking protected from the elements during the colder months. We recommend sealing your patio every 3-5 years.
Wrap Your Vulnerable Plants
If you own any garden plants that are extremely susceptible to cold weather, it’s important they are wrapped and protected from the elements. Head to your local home store for some burlap to wrap around the trunk and branches of your vulnerable trees. You may even already have this material at home! If you’re an avid potato lover, your large potato sacks are most likely constructed using burlap.
To wrap your trees sufficiently, ensure you first push the branches closer together and secure them with some rope. Wrap the trunk and the branches with the burlap sack, adding more layers for extra protection where needed. Secure your burlap sack using rope to prevent it from becoming loose due to high winds. You may also wrap with bubble wrap underneath the burlap to add extra protection if necessary.
Aerate Your Lawn
Keeping your lawn well maintained over winter is vital for a healthy, green garden all year round. With heavy rainfall, quite often, the water can begin to pool as it struggles to reach the roots. This can cause your grass to turn yellow and even die off.
For smaller lawns, you can aerate your lawn using a pitchfork; however, larger lawns may require a lawn aerator from an equipment hire service. Aerating the lawn will allow the excess water to reach the roots, keeping the grass healthy and letting it continue to thrive.
Make sure you avoid over-fertilizing or feeding your lawn during winter. Lawns don’t tend to show much growth during colder temperatures, so they don’t need the extra nutrition they usually would in the summer. Keep on weed watch during autumn and winter to remove pesky weeds before they spread in summer.