Preparing your garden for winter

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A few weeks before the colder months begin, your garden stops looking its best. And although it feels like this isn’t the best time to tend to it, any effort you put in will be worth it when you see your garden next spring.

It can be challenging to know where to start, but here are a few things you need to focus on to prepare your garden for winter:

Make your garden more accessible

If you find it difficult to bend down to the ground, one of the simplest things you can do is to raise your flower beds, pots, and containers, well before the cold months come around. This will make it easier for you to add mulch, fertilise, and cover them before winter.

Grumpyish Mum previously suggested you change planting schemes and you can include perennial plants, which grow back year after year. These plants go into hibernation during winter and wake up beautifully during the warm weather. They are easy to prepare for winter; they just need regular pruning and some mulching.

Cover your plants

If you can’t repot your plants and bring them indoors, add a reliable cover instead. You can either use a frost cloth or choose other heat retentive blankets.

Soil tends to erode during the winter months. House Beautiful says using cover crops can help avoid the negative effect that a drop in temperature, soil quality and fertility brings . Buckwheat, hairy vetch, and annual ryegrass are good options. Cover crops can also help increase the organic matter and improve the soil structure of your garden.

You can also cover your plants with materials like fleece, straw, bracken, and hessian. They can be held in place by a wire netting, or wrapped in clear polythene.

Add compost, mulch, and fertiliser

Be thorough when you add fertiliser to your garden, especially to the lawn. Rake the grass first, aerate with a garden fork, then apply a top dressing of well-rotted compost. This provides your lawn with all the necessary nutrients it needs during the cold months.

Make sure you add mulch, too. Young trees, shrubs, and tender plants will benefit from thick mulch, as it helps protect the roots and the crown from frost.

The BBC notes that you need to clear weeds before mulching and you need to make sure that the soil is moist. Water the plants first if necessary, before adding the mulch.

Choosing the right kind of mulch is also essential. If you have a fruit and vegetable garden, it’s best to use well-rotted manure. If you have flower beds, you can use cocoa shells, while gravel and grit work best on alpine plants. You can also use chopped organic wheat straw, if you have large areas to cover or if you want to add a long-lasting layer with organic matter to your garden soil.

Don’t take your surroundings for granted

It’s a common mistake for new gardeners to focus on the plants more than anything else in the garden. However, your hedges, sheds, fences, and even the power and phone lines around your home need to be prepped for the cold, too.

The Telegraph shares the importance of looking after these seemingly unimportant parts of the garden because of how susceptible they are to wind and water damage. Not to mention how an unchecked power line stuck on a tree could be dangerous and could potentially cost you money when the harsh weather begins. Get those tree branches trimmed and call a professional if you see any dangling wires.

Your fences may be a ticking time bomb, too. If you do not have pressure-treated ones, your fences could be more prone to damage. Pressure-treated fences are sturdier because preservatives are applied to the timber. The wood is then put in a vacuum that puts large amounts of pressure on it to force the preservatives in. Among the long list of fences featured on Screwfix, the majority are pressure treated to help protect them from the elements. If you need to replace your garden fence it is a good idea to find fences that are low maintenance. If you already have pressure-treated fences, it’s still wise to check for insect invasion and shifting posts, which are common during winter.

To sum it up, winter-proofing a garden requires a holistic approach. If you have other recommendations for protecting your garden against the cold season, be sure to leave a comment!

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