Your garden has a different set of needs throughout the winter months than is does in the spring and summer. The day-to-day duties of keeping up a garden are greatly reduced when the majority of the plants die off or go dormant for the winter. But, do not put your gardening tools up just yet because there are a few things you need to do to prepare your garden for winter.
- Learn about the types of plants you have
The best way to prepare the plants in your garden for winter can vary depending on the types of plants you have. Almost all plants go into a dormant phase at some point during the year. Winter is the time of year that most plants go into a dormant stage-whether you live in a mild or harsh climate. This dormant phase allows the plants a period of rest that they need in order to come back strong in the spring. Some plants need to be cut back as they enter the dormant phase to allow for new growth in the spring. Take some time to learn about the specific plants you have so you can properly prepare them for their winter’s rest.
- Remove debris and dead plants from your garden
An important step in preparing your garden for winter is removing debris and dead plants. Dead plants can harbor disease that can spread and kill off the other plants in your garden. If you have plants that have been killed off due to disease or other factors remove them from the garden completely. If it is only a portion of the plant that is suffering then cut that part back and look over the rest of the plant for any signs of disease.
Disease is not the only threat that debris in your garden poses to the dormant plants through the cooler months. Debris can also create a place for harmful pests to have shelter during the winter. Do not put off cleaning out your garden and flower beds until the spring because it can be detrimental to the plants you hope will reappear with the spring.
- Add a layer of mulch
Adding a layer of mulch to your garden and flower beds can help protect your plants through the winter months. The mulch will help create a more consistent temperature for the roots of the plants. For this layer of mulch you do not want anything that will become dense and compacted over time. Compacted mulch could do more harm than good to the roots of your plants. There are a few types of mulch that give protection and do not become compacted over time. These include straw, shredded leaves, and pine needles. If you decide to go with straw you should be able to find it at your local garden center. For leaves or pine needles you may only have to go as far as your own back yard. If you use leaves make sure to cut or shred them up with a shredder or lawn mower in order to prevent them from becoming compacted over time. Pine needles do not need to be cut up but it is important to keep in mind that they can impact the acidity of your soil. Many types of plants will benefit from the increased acidity but you need to make sure it will work for the particular types of plants in your garden.
A little preparation in your garden during the cooler months of the year can have a major impact on the wellbeing of your garden in the spring.