How to avoid plant losses, flowering disappointments and container catastrophes
As the colder weather sets in, we offer a 10-point checklist to help your garden survive the worst of winter.
As winter begins to make itself known, you may want to hibernate in front of a roaring fire – but there are some jobs that just won’t wait unless you’re prepared to have to do more work, and spend more money, next year.
So, put on your woollies and your wellies and brave the elements before it’s too late, with these jobs that won’t wait…
1. Protect vulnerable plants
Any plants that aren’t totally hardy will need some protection outdoors. Cover vulnerable plants with cloches or horticultural fleece if harsh frost is forecast and protect newly-planted trees and shrubs over the winter with windbreaks, or wrap a cosy blanket of hessian or horticultural fleece around them.
2. Avoid cracked pots
If you have terracotta pots that aren’t frost-hardy, clear them out of any plants and compost, wash them and store them under cover in a frost-free place such as a shed.
Protect pots containing permanent plants of borderline hardiness by grouping them together in a sheltered spot and wrapping them with hessian or horticultural fleece.
3. Plant bulbs sooner rather than later
Tulips are best planted at the beginning of November, but try to get all your bulb planting done by then or you may have problems digging planting holes in your borders as the ground hardens up during winter.
4. Watch out for windy weather
Prepare for winter winds by removing dead or decaying branches on established trees. Check the stakes of newly-planted trees are secure and make sure that fences, trellises and other structures which prop up climbing plants are all secure enough to withstand high winds.
5. Get pruning
Once the leaves have fallen from ornamental trees such as acers and sorbus, you can prune them lightly while dormant, to keep their framework neat. Do the same with young trees and shrubs to give them a good framework from the get-go. Many shrubs, however, can be left for pruning in late winter and early spring.
6. Keep weeding
Although the growth of weeds will slow down as the weather gets cooler, they will spring up again next year unless you catch them now, so dig up as many as you can before the ground becomes too hard to work.
7. Look after fish
If you have fish in your pond, stop the water from freezing by floating a ball on the surface, or consider installing a pond heater.
8. Move plants
If you want to switch plants around, or just need to lift and divide overgrown clumps, do it now while the ground is still soft enough to work. You’ll be able to fill any gaps leftover from summer, while dividing plants will also give you a chance to do some repeat-planting in your borders, which will create a rhythm in your garden next year.
9. Plant and harvest
There’s still time to plant winter salads such as pak choi in the garden, but make sure you cover crops with fleece to protect them from winter weather.
Harvest vegetables including kale, spinach, turnips, parsnips, winter cabbage and the first Brussels sprouts, but make sure you stake your plants with canes now as they can become quite large and you don’t want the sprouts to touch the ground.
10. Order seeds and plants
When you do come into the warm, flick through the latest seed catalogues and don’t delay ordering to guarantee you get the varieties you want before they run out of stock.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- 5 ways to lower your risk of high cholesterol - December 5, 2019
- This is how honey can be good for your whole body - December 4, 2019
- Christmas cons: 3 scams to watch out for this festive season - December 2, 2019
- These are the world’s 6 most vegan-friendly cities - December 2, 2019
- 4 tips for looking after your eye health this winter - December 2, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!