It’s my hope that we have a few more warm days ahead, but the cold has definitely been seen creeping into the last few mornings. With that said, it’s not a bad time to start thinking about how we can prepare our beloved gardens for the inevitable snowy season. To help you get ready, we’ve put together some winterizing tips for your garden.
While some plants, mainly annuals, won’t likely make it through the barrage of winter winds and heavy snow, hardy perennials have a better chance of surviving. In order to improve the likelihood of perennials growing the following season, start by cutting back dry or dead stems to 2-3 inches above the crown of the plant. This does not need to be done to all perennials, especially since birds will make the most out of any seed heads left standing through the winter. Although cutting back is one way to reduce foliage disease, it is also for aesthetics and promotes a cleaner garden.
Make sure to remove any fallen leaves from the soil, to thwart the chance of mold or disease carrying over into the spring season. You can also remove old mulch, as it may also contribute to the spread of disease.
If you’re worried about animals nesting in your garden, wait until the ground freezes before adding a layer of mulch, about 5-6 inches thick. Mulch will also help keep soil at a more even temperature and lower the chances of soil heaving, which can force plants and bulbs up and out of the ground.
Trees and shrubs can be wrapped in burlap screens to help reduce exposure to harsh winter winds and sun. Wire wrapping will also deter any critters from snacking on shrubs or small trees.
If you have any open-pollinated varieties in your garden, consider collecting the seeds to use next year. Removing seeds can be time consuming, but worth the effort. This is a great idea if you have any favorite annuals that won’t survive the cold temperatures – just reseed in the spring! Pack the seeds up in paper envelopes and store them in a cool and dry place until spring.
Although winter can feel a bit too long and far too dreary, we hope you’ll be warmed by the thought that you’ll be able to take great care of your gardens. Look forward to the return of spring, and enjoy the winter months with the assurance that your gardens will be prepared for the return of the warm weather.