The cool temperatures have arrived and frost is on its way. After a hot and humid summer, my grass has finally turned green again and this usually means that it is time to prepare my garden for its winter hibernation.
Preparing your garden for winter is more than just a clean-up, it’s about protecting those perennials, trees and shrubs to keep them healthy and blooming for years to come. Tillsonburg Garden Gate has put together some information that will allow your garden to, not only, survive but to thrive in the spring.
Be sure to pull out all of your annual flowers or vegetables that may still be in the ground. Annuals can attract pests and disease to your garden and this can carry over into the spring. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, it is best to yank annuals out as soon as they are done blooming for the year.
Inspect the roots when you pull them out, if no pests or disease are present, put them in your compost bin. Annuals makes excellent compost for the spring. If there are pests present, it is best to burn them or throw them in the garbage.
I find waiting until the first frost actually happens before prepping my perennials for their winter nap. After the first frost, cut all growth back to about 3 inches. Cover with a thick layer of mulch or straw.
When a frost blackens the leaves of dahlias, gladioli, and cannas, carefully dig them up and let them dry indoors on newspaper for a few days. Then pack in dry peat moss, dead leaves or shredded newspaper and store in a dark, humid spot that is chilly but not frozen.
Thoroughly water your roses before you prep them for winter. At this point, you should not fertilize them until the spring. Remove any dead stems or canes off of the plant. Place a thick layer of mulch or dead leaves around the base of the plant. If you are protecting climbing or tea roses, carefully pull down the long canes, lay them flat on the ground and cover with mulch. For all other rose types, I find that burlap works best. Carefully, wrap the burlap loosely around the full plant.
Trees and Shrubs
Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs but planting during fall also leaves new trees susceptible to frost and cold temperatures. It is a good idea to give your new trees or shrubs a really good watering to get it through the winter. Now is the time to give your trees and shrubs a good inspection. If it requires a trim, now is the time to get that done.
Protect the small and new trees by placing a cylinder of chicken wire, snow fencing or tree wrap around the base of the tree. Fill that cylinder with leaves that have fallen off the tree or straw to keep the base warm. Surround the cylinder with about 3-4 inches of mulch. Be sure that the mulch is not piled directly on the trunk of the tree, this could cause suffocation problems in the spring.
We would recommend protecting shrubs in the first winter that they are in the ground. To protect them, loosely wrap burlap or garden fleece all the way around the shrub.
New Spring Garden
Gardening requires a certain amount of planning. If you are planning to put in a new garden in the spring, planning it in the fall can cut your work in half when the snow melts. It is a good idea to compost the area to provide nutrients and cover it with garden plastic or mulch to deter weed growth in the spring.
Additional Garden Chores
It is not just the garden that requires a clean-up but your tools, pots and outdoor accessories also require a little attention. Empty all of your outdoor containers, wash them with an anti-bacterial and biodegradable soap and store them upside down.
On a mild day, run your garden hose over a railing of your deck or entrance to remove all of the water. Once done, roll it up and store it in a dry place.
Don’t leave fallen leaves on the lawn. Even though leaves make an excellent mulch, having them left on your lawn can leave dead patches of grass in the spring. I generally run the lawnmower over them and put them in either my flowerbeds, garden or compost bin. While you have the lawnmower out, give the lawn a good trim. If grass is too long when the snow arrives, it can develop browning patches in the spring.
Lastly, scrub down and put away your garden tools for the year. Be sure to read the owner’s manuals on any powered garden tools and take care of the winter maintenance before the snow flies.
For any more information or additional tips for winter, stop by Tillsonburg Garden Gate and meet with an onsite expert or check our website at www.tillsonburggardengate.com