Winter garden preparation is crucial for the proliferation of plants as temperatures drop and vegetation becomes dormant. To foster a flourishing yard, gardeners must approach the seasonal segue as an opportunity to ready their plot for the colder months. Senior garden editor Todd Carr shares tips for winterizing your garden.
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“Boxwoods and broad leaf greens should be wrapped in burlap to protect against winter storms and wind damage,” Carr says. While frost is commonly considered the most destructive force in effect during the winter, acute winds can prove equally if not more detrimental to boxwoods.
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“Keep your broom by the door. When there is a snowstorm, you can quickly brush the frost off of your most sensitive plants,” Carr reminds gardeners. “Each season requires its own cleanup,” Carr states, and winter is no exception.
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Preparing your garden for winter requires attention to plant containers as well as the plants themselves. “Store terra cotta pots safely inside a cool, dry place, as clay absorbs moisture,” Carr elucidates. “If terra cotta pots are soaked in water and subsequently freeze, breakage can occur.”
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“Small trees should be staked,” Carr recommends. Tinier trees can fall prey to winter's blustery winds, and therefore are better bolstered against the gusts. Be sure to leave room for movement, lest your sapling’s boughs break.
Consider longevity over aesthetics when preparing your garden for winter. “I don’t cut back my perennial grasses,” Carr reveals. “Many gardeners cut them back for a tidier look, but if snow gets to the crown [just above the roots] of the grass, it will rot the plant.”
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Winter weather is often condemned for its ruinous effect on fledgling flora, but the local fauna can wreak havoc on nascent plants as well. “I like to place a metal guard around new trees at a one-foot radius,” Carr comments. Without a barrier, Carr explains, “rodents can burrow under the ground and chew the bark, killing saplings.”