Winter Gardening Don’ts

Winter comes every year whether we want it or not. However, if you don’t prepare your garden properly for the frigid cold and snow, then the results may be a damaged garden or a lot of time and money fixing things that have gone wrong. What follows are 13 tips describing what not to do to assure that your plants are protected during the winter season.

Don’t plant too late. Adding to your garden too late in the season can result in lost plants come spring, especially in regions where the ground freezes. Don’t plant perennials too late because the alternating freezing and thawing of the soil can force plants out of the soil, exposing crowns. Shrubs and trees can be planted later. However, to ensure the best results have all plants in place six weeks before the soil freezes.
Don’t prune until spring. Pruning is good because it helps to encourage new growth, but don’t do it just before winter. New plants are vulnerable when the freezing temperatures arrive. Do the pruning after any possibility of frost passes. Remove the branches that have died due to the winter cold then. In the future, try to complete pruning by late August. This will permit the plants to harden before the cold arrives.
Don’t plant the wrong varieties of flora. Make sure you plant vegetables that have the longest harvest time. The best veggies to plant in the fall include Four Seasons lettuce, Arctic King, and North Pole. For really cold regions, plant Winter Marvel or Brune d’Hiver. For areas that experience mild winters, sow seeds of Four Seasons or any Oakleaf.
Don’t neglect to water new trees. Trees planted in the fall need consistent water during their first winter. Try to water during times of above-freezing temperatures. To prevent pulling out the hose, use a cart or wheelbarrow to carry water bags to thirsty trees.
Don’t forget to deadhead self-sowing plants. Clip seed heads on plants that self-sow heavily.
Don’t forget to mulch. It is essential that you mulch new plants. It helps to prevent frost heave on new plants that may not have an extensive root system that keeps them anchored in the soil as it alternatingly freezes and thaws. A 2-inch thick layer of mulch around the base of a plant should suffice.
Don’t spray weeds. Common weed killers like Round-Up perform best when temperatures are 50°F or higher. It is suggested that you spray early in the fall when plants are still growing and temperatures are around an ideal 60°F.
Don’t wait for snow to clean the garden. The best time to clean is before the early snowfall. This minimizes winter resting places for pests and diseases that start to appear once the snow comes.
Don’t forget to destroy vegetable crops. It is imperative that you destroy spent vegetable crops because they can become homes for pests. Don’t throw the spent veggies into a compost pile unless it definitely heats enough to kill pests and eggs. Toss the spent veggies into a plastic bag and leave it at the curb for the garbage crew to pick up.
Don’t forget to cover vulnerable plants with frost blankets. Kits cost less than $25 and come with built-in hoops and can cover up to 18 feet.
Don’t let the grass grow too long. Grass that has not been mowed before winter is susceptible to snow mold. Schedule your last mow just before winter arrives. Once the ground freezes, stay off the grass. Frozen grass can break as you walk over it.
Don’t forget to wrap shrubs and small trees in burlap. This protects them from the cold. It is advised that you spray evergreens with an anti-transpirant before wrapping them. Place mouse bait in a container around the base of the trunk to protect trees from hungry rodents.
Don’t neglect tree trunks. Some animals like rabbits, mice, and wolves feed on tree bark when food sources are scarce. Protect young trees and shrubs with tree guards or hardware mesh.

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.