Putting the Garden to Bed for the Winter
Preparing Plants for Winter Conditions
With annuals petering out for the season and perennials past their peaks, it may seem like not much is going on in the garden these days. But until your soil truly freezes, there is plenty going on underground you might not realize. All those new trees and shrubs on sale have probably tempted you into added to your landscaping. They’ll need to establish good root systems to carry them through the winter and set them up well for growth and development next spring.
Evaluate your Past Season
Take a look at your garden and ask yourself what worked and what didn’t this year – colors, textures, etc. It’s a great time to divide perennials, move them around in your garden and even share them with neighbors – who will want to do the same for you, no doubt. If you have tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus, remember to dig them up and store them in a cool, dry place for the winter. Back in the garden, fill in holes, add plants with varying bloom times, add some bulbs maybe.
Add Fall Bloomers for Next Year
Some good plants to consider for fall blooming if you seem some obvious bare spots now include black eyed susan, asters, anemone and sedum. It’s also a good time to plant some hardier hydrangea species for colorful blooms next year. Check with your local garden center for tips.
Feed your Soil
All this moving, planting and re-establishing of your garden plants means it’s the right time to refresh your soil’s nutrients. With root systems establishing and spreading, and the mulch you spread in the spring largely decomposed by now, it’s time to replenish your soil. A good, thick winter layer of mulch will help your plants (established ones and those newly planted or transplanted alike) as it keeps temperatures more even as well as provides essential nutrients for root systems.
It’s recommended to use up to six inches of mulch for winter, and apply it just after the first frost. Visit GreenCycle to see our mulch selections, or call us and let us help you decide what type is best for your purposes.
Neaten Up Landscaping
Meanwhile, with the cooler weather it’s also time to remove dead and blackened leaves and stems of your annuals and vegetables. This not only helps neaten up your yard’s appearance, but also helps banish harmful diseases from appearing next year, and gets rid of those pesky insect eggs that could overwinter in your garden. Don’t forget to tend to the vegetable garden now, too. Tilling in the fall helps reduce workload for spring. But don’t forget to mulch your newly tilled garden to prevent weeds and protect any perennial vegetable plants. Mulching the vegetable garden will also help protect plants from the freezing and thawing cycles of winter, which can result in plants being lifted up from their soil.