It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the cold weather will eventually damage plants if they are left unprotected. In fact, even the hardy plants in your garden may suffer a little if left to fend for themselves. However, it is impossible to move every plant into your home or into a greenhouse, meaning it is difficult to know how you can prevent them from the harsh, cold weather. This article could provide you with some ideas on how to protect your plants and prepare them for the winter weather.
Harsh winds, in combination with the somewhat unreliable, but still possible, winter sun, can really rob even hardy plants of the essential moisture they need. In order to avoid dry and brittle plants, it is vital that you deeply water them before the grounds begin to freeze so that they have a ‘reserve’ supply in the soil when rain may not get to their roots.
Mulch the Soil
Frozen soil can be a huge problem for the survival of plants in colder weather. Mulching the soil can avoid this issue as it will help to regulate temperatures and insulate plant roots under the soil. Shredded leaves and bark work well as mulch and should be applied in a layer 2 to 4 inches thick.
Cut Back Plants
Cutting back the dead stems and branches of plants is about more than simply making the garden look more attractive. Removing these dead pieces can remove any potential pest eggs or disease spores that could seriously damage the plants as the weather becomes cooler and damper.
Make Makeshift Shelters
Perhaps some of your plants aren’t quite hardy enough to be left uncovered, but there is no space for them in the greenhouse and you don’t want to spend money on expensive cloches, meaning you need to get creative! Overturned plastic plant pots, or even heavy duty plastic bags (with small holes for air) are great makeshift frost shelters for plants that aren’t quite fully hardened off. They may not look pretty, but they will prevent any damage to your plants.
Protect from Small Animals & Rodents
Smaller animals and rodents, such as mice and rats, tend to burrow around the bases of larger plants, shrubs and trees in the cold weather. This means that they also have the tendency to gnaw and nibble at the bases, making them weak and more susceptible to cold weather damage. You can prevent this by wrapping small cylinders of chicken wire or metal netting around the bases of these plants.
Avoid Using Fertilisers
While you may think that fertilisers encourage healthy growth in plants, this isn’t true in colder conditions. This is because fertilisers encourage increased plant growth that will be sappy and too weak to endure the cold weather.
Do you have any more tips on how to prepare plants for the ever-nearing colder weather? Share your ideas in the comments!