With the frigid months of winter upon us, now is the time of year that many gardeners dread most. However, despite the fact that you’ll be spending less time tending to your greenery outside, there are still plenty of steps you should take before winter hits to protect your plants and get them through the next several months.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve got some practical tips to help you care for your plants both inside and outside this winter season.
Protect Your Outside Plants During the Winter
You can help your outside plants get off to a stronger start in the spring by taking some protective measures now.
Mulch as Needed
One of the best things you can do to protect your outdoor plants (including native species) during the winter months is to simply mulch around them as needed. Mulching with organic material helps to enhance the soil because as the mulch naturally decomposes, it will release nutrients back into the soil itself.
The best time to mulch is during the fall by pulling back any old mulch from the bases of the plants and spreading a new, three-inch mulch layer around them. When mulching, just be careful to leave about half an inch of space around the plant’s stem to ensure proper air circulation and prevent rot.
Wrap Tree Trunks
Late fall or early winter is also a good time to wrap any delicate tree trunks with burlap. This can help to protect them from sunscald, which is more likely to be a problem during the months of winter when a tree’s bark is already weakened from the cold.
Sunscald can also affect smaller bushes and shrubs, but you can protect them by applying an anti-descant to their new foliage as needed.
Protect Flower Beds
Perennial flower beds will also need some special attention in preparation for the harsh winter months. Ideally, you’ll want to lay down a thick layer (about 6-8 inches) of either wood chips or straw to help protect plants before the first freeze of the season. You should also make sure these beds are watered before you lay down this layer, as this can help to protect plant roots from damage.
Harsh winter winds can damage trees and shrubs, so installing windbreaks can go a long way in protecting your outdoor plants. This is especially true in larger and more open areas where wind gusts can be very strong.
There are many different ways to create a windbreak, including that of stretching and tying a thick piece of burlap between two poles around delicate trees or shrubs. You can also use netting to keep the harshness of the wind down while still encouraging proper air circulation.
Bring Potted Plants Indoors
Sometimes, it’s best to bring plants inside for the winter. Whenever possible, bring your potted plants indoors before the first freeze. If you have a heated garage, this can be a great place to keep potted shrubs and other large plants during the winter months.
Before bringing any potted plants into your home, it’s a good idea to spray them down thoroughly with a hose. This will help to remove insects, spiders, egg sacs, or other things you don’t want to bring into your house. Spraying plants down before moving them into your home is also a good way to remove any insecticides or other chemicals that you wouldn’t want pets or small children to come into contact with.
While your plants are inside your home, be sure to water them regularly. Whenever possible, keep them located near areas with windows and plenty of natural light. This will help them thrive once you bring them back outside in the spring.
Choose a Native Species When Picking Out Plants
Preparing your plants for winter can be a lot of work, but picking out native plants and species is actually one of the best things you can do to make your life easier each fall. After all, native plants will be able to withstand your local climate, which will require less care and maintenance on your part.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to selecting native plants in this Texas climate? Our team at Landscape By Design is here to help! We have years of experience in caring for native and non-native plants right here in the DFW Metroplex, so we know all the ins and outs. Our knowledgeable and friendly team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about preparing your plants for winter or simply choosing the right plants to suit your lifestyle. Contact Landscape By Design to find out more about what we can do for you!