How to Winterproof Your Garden

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Winter can damage your garden. Are you prepared? 

Is your garden ready for winter? While you might think about getting your home ready for potential power outages or snow days, your garden may not be top of mind. Winterproofing your garden is worthwhile. It makes your garden tidier, and it also prevents your plants from getting damaged during the winter months. Finally, it stops your home and other structures around it from experiencing all of the downsides of the winter weather. What should you do to winterproof your garden?  

Clean Up 

While this sounds tedious, a little bit of tedious work in the fall will save you a lot of headaches in the winter and spring. When fall starts to turn into winter, tuck your summer and fall outdoor items away into a safe storage location for the winter. For instance, your barbeque, your lawn chairs, and even your maintenance equipment should be tucked into a warm, dry space to wait until the spring. Otherwise, you could find yourself with parts blown around the yard due to the winter or damaged by snowfall. 

Make Repairs

During the cleaning process, you might notice elements of your home and garden that really need some repairs. While you may not be using the garden as often during the winter months, making repairs now can prevent more serious problems later. For example, a rotting post will only get more rotten over the winter. Loose shingles can fly off in the winter wind. Just as you would when you embark on a trip, prepare well. The trip through winter can be a rocky one with all of the wind, ice, and snow; so add gutter heat and gutter covers, repair that broken step, or fix the pathway lighting before winter comes.

Prune Your Plants

Prune your plants in the fall if you need to do so to prevent winter damage. Better Homes and Gardens suggests that you prune back shrubs that are grown for their foliage at this time of the year. This can keep your plants looking tidy, but it also helps them survive the winter, because they have neat branches that are tucked into the shape of the plant and don’t break as easily. Of course, if any of your tree branches look like they will be a hazard, by all means, get them pruned so that they don’t fall on your home. 

Consider leaving some parts of plants for overwintering animals. Animals such as nesting bees may use old plant stalks, and by giving them a home for the winter, you’ll improve your chances of having an abundant garden next year.

Remove Problem Plants 

If there was a plant that had a disease this year, make sure that you remove it before it decomposes and potentially spreads this disease into the garden soil. While most plant material can stay and decompose on the soil surface, badly diseased plants should not remain in the garden.

Plant Bulbs

Fall is the time to plant spring bulbs and some other plants, such as garlic. Make sure that you do this before the ground freezes. The plants establish over the winter and then get triggered to grow in the spring when it becomes warmer and lighter.

Deal With Drainage Issues

If you live in a rainy climate, winter is often a time when you’re overwhelmed by drainage issues as the rain falls. If you live in a snowy climate, you’re more likely to experience drainage problems in the spring when the snow melts. Before the soil gets too wet, consider shifting your garden landscape so that you can manage drainage issues. Some of the solutions to poor garden drainage include: 

  • Adding organic material to the soil so that it drains more quickly 
  • Moving soil in the garden to avoid having low points where the water pools 
  • Adding wetland plants to spaces where water pools so that your plants use the water 
  • Placing new hardscaping elements such as terraces that alter the flow of water 
  • Installing a French drain or another drainage system 
  • Making sure that your gutters and drains are working properly by cleaning them or adding a gutter cover so that they don’t splash over and into your garden
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A well-maintained winter garden leads to a lovelier garden in the spring. 

Wrap Your Plants

Tuck your tender plants into bed for the winter by adding a layer of burlap around them. This helps protect them from the winter wind. According to Reader’s Digest, you can put stakes around smaller plants and then “wrap a burlap barrier around the stakes to…deflect harsh winds.” With larger plants, you can simply wrap them in burlap completely.

Add Protection Such As Cloches 

If you’re planning to overwinter tender plants, you can also add other forms of protection such as cloches, row covers, and miniature greenhouses or other covered spaces for those plants. Some plants such as rosemary may enjoy coming indoors for the winter if they don’t enjoy your cold winter climate. If you have container plants, add protection such as a blanket or a floating row cover to maintain more heat in the winter.

Mulch Your Garden Beds

Wrapping tender plants is part of your winter preparation, and so is wrapping up your soil in a layer of mulch. In rainy climates, mulch provides an essential barrier between the soil and the rain. In snowy climates, it helps keep the heat in the soil and prevents constant freezing and thawing. Add a layer of leaves or other organic material in the fall to protect both the soil and your garden plants. It will also decompose over time, adding new nutrients and complexity to the soil. 

Are you trying to make sure that your home is in the best shape it can be in this year? Talk to us about creative ways to keep your home in shape. Whether you need a roof replacement, a gutter cover, or a gutter heating system, we can help you get your home winter ready. Schedule a free estimate today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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