Winter is a time of relative inactivity for plants, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do! In fact, while above the ground your garden may seem dormant or dead, there’s actually a lot going on underneath your feet. Winter is a time for plants – especially those that have been recently transplanted – to grow roots, drawing on the nutrients and moisture in the soil. Worms and other critters are still hard at work too, processing organic material like the mulch you spread earlier in the year.
It’s important to make sure your garden is winter-ready. Check this list to ensure that your plants will be cozy all season long and ready to burst forth come spring:
- Clean up!
Clear out dead or blackened stems to prevent the possibility of their harboring disease pathogens or insect eggs over the winter. Also, be sure to clean any garden tools before storing them for the season.
- Cover up!
Make sure to spread new mulch — a thicker winter layer — to protect plants and soil over the winter months. This insulating layer helps keep the soil temperature consistent. Otherwise, your plants may be harmed by any drastic changes in weather.
- Make repairs!
The cool weather is a good time to make repairs to your garden beds, or other hardscape on site.
- Save seeds!
You can collect any remaining seeds to plant and grow your garden in the spring. Click here for more information
- Preserve moisture!
Evergreens run the biggest risk of drying out in the winter, despite their year-round greenery. Make sure all of your plants are well watered going in to the season, and keep an eye out during dry spells.
- Watch the snow!
Snow can actually help protect your plants – it helps insulate the soil, like mulch. However, too much snow on branches can lead to breakage, harming the plants above ground. To remedy, knock the snow from the bottom branches first and work your way up. This way snow from above doesn’t snap the already burdened branches below.
- Leave the ice!
Unlike the snow, do not attempt to break weighed-down branches free of ice, as you run the risk of snapping them yourself. Instead, allow the ice to melt and release them gradually.