Knowing how to shield plants from winter and frost is essential as winter approaches, as it is especially crucial to do so for young and vulnerable plants. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching the beautiful plants you have carefully cultivated killed almost overnight by frost, and there are several simple ways to safeguard more delicate plants.
Read on to learn how to ensure the winter survival of the beautiful plants and crops you’ve planned for your garden unless you happen to live in a very warm region.
Add a Layer of Mulch
Mulch is a miracle worker for your garden in the winter and throughout the year. Imagine mulch as a warm blanket that keeps your plants safe from the elements this winter. Heaving or lifting of soils induced by freeze-thaw cycles is a typical issue throughout the winter.
Shallow-rooted plants such as Heucherella and Gaillardia can be pushed completely out of the ground by soil heaving, leaving their vulnerable crowns and roots exposed to the cold. Mulch is useful for avoiding the damaging effects of freeze-thaw cycles by maintaining a constant soil temperature. If you have plants that are just moderately hardy, mulch can assist in preserving soil moisture and act as insulation.
After the ground has frozen solid, spread a heavy layer of mulch (between 3 and 5 inches). Wood mulch can be used throughout the winter without having to be purchased. Shredded leaves and pines straw are great examples of lightweight materials that won’t compact.
Place potted plants in a cold greenhouse or frame, or transfer them to a sunnier or more protected area in the garden. Root-hardy but not shoot-hardy garden plants include dahlias and gladioli. The first cold usually causes them to die back to the ground, but the tulips, tubers, or roots should remain alive so that new growth can emerge the following spring.
However, in more temperate regions of the UK, you can leave them in the ground; in colder regions, you may be required to lift them and keep them in a shed until spring.
Dormant houseplants such as begonias and fragile fuchsias that have shed their leaves can spend the winter in a dark shed without any problems. A cold greenhouse is preferable since other plants that are currently green and growing steadily will still require light.
If a plant cannot tolerate frost, it must be kept in a heated greenhouse (which isn’t exactly environmentally). Alternatively, a bright, cool space within the house during the colder months.
Get Rid of the Intruders
When you pull weeds, please don’t throw them in the compost pile; instead, put them in a closed container for disposal. Once weeds have established themselves again in the spring, they can be more challenging to remove than in the winter.
The presence of weeds is often an indicator that there are problems with the soil. Soil, for instance, requires oxygen from the air to survive. Plants and their roots can suffocate soils by compacting them.
Protect the Potted Plants
Bring in your tropical and semi-tropical houseplants from the outside before the first frost. Nevertheless, before doing so, the plants should be treated with gardening oil or insecticidal soap to kill any remaining pests and their eggs. When you bring your plants inside, they need as much light as possible, but you must be cautious not to overwater them.
Plants have a reduced watering need because their growth rate is slower in the winter. Don’t freak out if some leaves start to turn yellow and fall. Indoor plants don’t require as many leaves as outdoor ones because of the lower light levels.
Insulating Plants With Covers
You should install covers whenever the thermometer drops below 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). When the temperature drops to just above freezing, you should begin protecting your plants for the winter. Typically, it is in this temperature range that the first frosty mornings begin.
However, if the cold weather is only expected to last for one day and warmer weather is expected elsewhere, you shouldn’t bother covering your plants just yet. For at least one or two nights, they can withstand freezing temperatures. It would help if you started fretting about them when sustained cold spells occur.
Before the season’s first frost, ensure that all garden sheds, shed roofs, fences, and posts are securely attached. To lessen the effects of gusts, turbulence, and shaking, replacing solid gates with those that let up to half the wind speed through is best.
If you live in a particularly windy and chilly area, you may want to consider installing windbreaks like hedges. Putting up temporary woven barriers, netting, or other items strategically on deeply embedded sturdy poles will help.
Addressing drainage issues as soon as possible is important for the stability of young or shallowly rooted trees in windy conditions.
What Plants Are Required to Be Covered in Winter?
Some plants are hardier than others, so it’s important to know which ones will survive the winter in your area. During the colder months, these plants, trees, and shrubs may benefit from extra warmth, protection, or care:
Tender Bulb Flowers
Daffodils and tulips are only examples of the many bulbous flowers that can hibernate underground through the harsh winter and emerge in the spring. Many bulb flowers, however, are extremely delicate and cannot survive frost, regardless of where they are planted. Bulbs of dahlias, begonias, and freesias will perish in freezing temperatures.
Cold nights can be especially dangerous for newly planted trees. Citrus trees, regardless of age, are another type of tree that should be treated with care. Rapid freezing can cause significant harm to citrus trees.
As winter approaches, it is time to prune your tropical bulb plants, dig them up, and store them for the year. Larger tropical plants, such as hibiscus and aloe, have difficulty withstanding cold weather. Plants in containers can be taken indoors for the night without much effort, but those in the ground should be pruned regularly and protected from the elements by a plant-safe cover.
Many annual fruits and vegetables can’t make it through a hard freeze. You can save the seeds from some of these plants over the winter and grow them again in the spring and summer. Annuals such as crabgrass, petunias, and dahlias need special attention over the winter months to thrive.
The Final Thoughts
The winter season’s climate is notoriously unstable. Plants might be especially vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather in the South, where temperatures frequently drop and rise. Protecting plants and reducing their exposure to winter damage can be accomplished with only a few simple steps described above. It would help if you took some precautions to protect your plants’ roots from the harsh winter weather.