Wednesday , November 14 2018

In the winter garden there are two main killers: extreme cold and wet. Late autumn is the right moment to start protecting your garden plants by putting up barriers, insulating roots, wrapping top-growth and keeping off the rain or snow.

Protection against cold
Borderline-hardy plants, such as many climbers and wall shrubs will need protection during the coldest weather. Not all of them need the same kind of protection against extreme cold: some will just need their vulnerable top-growth wrapped in an insulating blanket of straw held in place with fine-mesh netting, while others will need to have their roots protected too.

Many shrubs and evergreen climbers that are being grown in a colder climate than their place of origin can be treated like herbaceous plants, meaning that their top-growth is killed off by frost at the end of each growing season but their roots will remain alive underground and will produce new shoots in the following spring. The best way to protect their roots is to cover them with a 15 cm deep mulch of bark chippings, compost, collected leaves or even hedge trimmings. Keep this insulation layer in place by covering it with netting and pegging it down at the edges.

Winter Protection

Plants in containers are also worth protecting over the periods of freezing temperatures. Wrap the pot in a double layer of bubble plastic and borderline hardy plants in a double layer of garden fleece. Don not forget tot stand the containers on pot feet to prevent them from becoming waterlogged and leave easy access point to allow watering during dry spells.

Protect against wet
Winter wet can cause plant casualties in any garden and on heavy soils it is a real killer. Some plants are particularly vulnerable to winter wet. The most vulnerable are silver-leaved shrubs, perennials and low growing alpines with hairy leaves. Even winter flowering plants will benefit from the protection against winter wet when they are in flower because heavy rain or snow can spoil their winter blooms. Protect individual plants with open-ended cloches.

Use sheets of plastic to protect wall-trained peach trees from rain splash, which carries the disease peach leaf curl. Keep the sides open to allow pollinating insects in when the trees are in bloom during early spring and maintain good air circulation.

Protect against wind
Even not one of the main killer over the winter, the wind still can make a lot of damage to your garden plants. Cold winds in winter and early spring are often forgotten threat to borderline hardy plants. Often the cold winter winds damage the conifers that transpire throughout the winter months and can be scorched if there is insufficient water available to their root – for example when the ground id frozen the most affected will be the ones that have been recently planted because they will not have enough time to establish a good root system into the surrounding soil.

Protect individual plants from wind damage by erecting a windbreak. Use special fabric screens, held taut between strong posts that have been hammered into the ground. Make sure the windbreak is tall enough to offer protection event to the top of the plant and place it at least 15 cm away from the plant to allow good air circulation. If you are going to protect a whole hedge, put the windbreak on the windward side.

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