Landscape plants generally thrive during the summer months, when plenty of light, moisture and warmth is available. However, during the winter, these plants can become stressed from limited amounts of these important components. Here are five tips you should keep in mind to keep your plants healthy throughout the winter:
1. Fertilize Plants in the Fall
Before the cooler weather arrives, give your plants some nutrition to help them withstand the varying temperatures of winter. This measure will give them that extra protection needed to remain in top condition when frost, ice and snow threaten. However, do not over-fertilize, which can cause excessive new growth that will be easily damaged by cold temperatures.
2. Monitoring Your Plants’ Moisture Needs
Moisture replacement during the winter months can vary widely, depending on where you live. Your landscape plants may need additional watering. It’s a good idea to water your plants thoroughly in the fall to prepare them for the winter’s varying conditions. Dig your finger into the soil underneath plants to a depth of two to three inches. If the soil is dry, water the area thoroughly and deeply to ensure that they have moisture available when they need it.
3. Trim Branches and Roots to Prevent Damage
Over the summer, trees and shrubs may have become thick and overgrown. This excessive growth prevents the proper circulation of air and sunlight that plants need to remain vigorous. In addition, unrestrained root growth can damage sidewalks and structures. Trimming trees and roots can help to keep these plants growing vigorously throughout the year. Trimming can also reduce damage that can occur from ice and snow. If you are nervous about trimming alone, contact Pete & Ron’s Tree Service or a provider in your area for professional assistance.
4. Provide Additional Mulch
Spread a thick layer of mulch under your plants to help preserve moisture during the drier winter months and to help keep roots warm when temperatures fall. Wood chips, such as pine, redwood or spruce are the best for keeping roots warm and holding moisture. Gravel or pebbles can also be used, but these materials will not hold water as well.
5. Cover Cold-Sensitive Plants During Temperature Dips
Winter’s cold can cause significant damage in northern areas of the country. Even areas in warmer regions are touched with frost frequently during December and January. If you have cold-sensitive plants, such as azalea, hydrangea and fruit trees, protect them from the cold with a sheet of burlap, plastic or landscape cloth. Remove the protective cloth as soon as temperatures warm.
Cold weather doesn’t have to be a death knell for your garden and landscaping. Follow these tips to keep your plants healthy throughout the cold months.