How to Winterize Your Garden
Winterizing garden – this is something that needs to done very carefully and this is the topic on which people keep on asking me questions after questions and very rightly so. This is something that will make your garden ready to face the upcoming long winter months. There is a specific way to do that. Let us look into some of the techniques:
- Chop, cut, clip and clean: First of all, you need to tidy up your garden and help it get rid of unwanted stuffs. You need to remove the spent stalks and the debris of shrubs or dead plants or the ones that are unwanted or have grown here and there by default. Otherwise all these debris might become home or incubator for pests and diseases once the long chilly winter sets in and everything goes under snow. You need to get rid of the dying foliage as this will give your garden a much trimmer and slimmer look all throughout the winter. Also, it will help remove the grooming chores in the spring that will follow the winter, when you will be carrying out all the “good funny” things and may be planting new seeds and seedlings.
- Remove Invasives: You need to pull out the weeds or other plants that are unwanted. Here you need to take special care to get rid of the invasive plants, particularly the seed heads. You need to use a covered garbage container to remove the compost pile so that you do not mistakenly spill them while carrying. If left unnoticed, they can again be a home for the pests and diseases that will cause ‘health concern’ for your garden.
- Divide the Perennials: Fall is the perfect time for dividing the plants of your garden. The thumb rule is that you need to divide them at least 5 to 6 weeks before the ground for the first time freezes, so that they can get the desired firmness before it starts snowing. It is ideal to divide those plants that do not generate flower as vigorously and as frequently as they did earlier.
- Give special care for the bulbs: You need to dig up and store the tender bulbs, which are too weak to withstand the frost of the winter. You need to dry them out on news papers for a few weeks, and then store them in a container, and then cover them with sawdust, perlite or vermiculite or sand until the end of the winter when it is time for replanting.
- Prepare the garden bed: After you have tidied the garden and replanted the divided plants, you need to add compost up to 3 to 4 inches to the bed, so much so that the nutrients from the mulch will trickle into the bed when it rains during the winter. The remnants of the compost then will turn into the soil during the onset of spring.
- Spread the mulch: This is a very important step, particularly for the newly planted perennials, which has not got the extensive root system. I would suggest you to wait till the ground of your garden has started to freeze. Once the freezing starts you need to add a thick layer of the mulch. It will help the ground to retain the cold and help it remain frozen till the end of spring.
- Create wind breaks: Another thing that I would recommend is that you need to take care of the exposed evergreens that are susceptible to wind burns. During the fall before the ground freezes you need to drive three stakes into the ground on the windward side of the plants that you are looking forward to protect. You need to put the stakes in a “V”-shaped formation with the front stake, which faces the wind and then wrap up the landscape fabric around the stakes.
These are some of the elementary steps that you need to take if you are looking forward to guard you garden before the onset of the long winter months. Now there are other steps as well, but to my opinion these are the few most elementary steps that are badly needed if you are to ‘winterize’ your garden in a proper way.