Easy Tasks To Winterizing Your Garden
Even though there is not as much work to do in the garden during late fall and winter, getting these seven tasks done will protect your plants, keep them healthy and get your garden off to a good start in the spring. Besides, as gardeners, we do not like having nothing to do and he feeling of being idle. Just remember to dress warmly.
Clean Up Debris
Most debris laying on the garden over winter is a bad thing. It can cause the trunks of trees and shrubs to rot out and provide a haven for pests to overwinter. Remove all debris from the garden that can cause these issues. An exception to this rule is using leaves as an extra layer of mulch to protect root system from cold temperatures. If this is your plan, it is a good idea to shred the leaves first with a lawn mower and even then, keep them away from the trunks of plants.
Late fall and early winter is an excellent time to divide perennials and spread them throughout your garden or share them with friends. When re-planting the perennials, be sure to thoroughly amend the soil with composted organic matter and apply a layer of mulch to help keep the plants from being heaved out during freeze-thaw cycles. Some perennials that respond well to dividing include hostas, daylilies, black eye susans, ornamental grasses and sedums.
Prune Out Dead Wood
Dead wood should always be removed from trees and shrubs. Dead wood creates an opportunity for insects to infest plants. Once the leaves of plants have dropped it is sometimes easier to see the dead limbs and also evaluate the overall structure of the plant. Be sure to use sharp pruning tools and make clean cuts.
Add Some Extra Mulch
An extra layer of mulch will protect plant root from cold damage and keep smaller plants from heaving out of the ground. It also simply makes the garden look better during an otherwise bland season. Be careful not to over mulch as this could be detrimental to the plant’s health. One inch of mulch should be plenty to help protect them.
Remove Rotting Plants
Vegetable plants and annuals that are dead and rotting should be removed from the garden. If not removed, insect larvae and eggs, as well as fungal fruiting bodies could overwinter in them. Remove them and then rake over the area to make the area look nicer.
Prepare The Soil For Spring
Most gardeners think of spring as the optimal time to till in composted organic matter into the garden but there are advantages to doing this in late fall or winter. First of all, from a practical standpoint, there is less to do in the garden at this time of the year so it is easier to fit into one’s schedule. Secondly, tilling organic matter in at this time will give it a chance to break down further making the nutrients more available to the plants.
Cut Back Perennials
Perennials plants that have gone dormant and died back to the ground can be cut back at this time. As stated earlier, dead plant parts should be removed from plants to prevent pests from overwintering. Cutting back perennials also makes the garden look cleaner.
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