Winter Protection For Landscape Beds


Winter can be very hard on your landscaping beds. Freeze and thaw cycles can lead to frost heave, which can push plants out of the ground or damage their roots. Cold, drying winds are also damaging to plants, even in their dormant state. Then, there are the pests that overwinter in a garden bed and then attack the plants when they are vulnerable and just emerging in the spring. The following guide can help you avoid these winter problems.

Trim back excess foliage and stems

Most herbaceous, non-woody plants die back to the ground once frost arrives. Although it can be tempting to leave the dead foliage, particularly if it is ornamental in its dried state, the dead material can harbor overwintering insect pests and disease pathogens. For this reason, it is best to cut back the foliage and dispose of it or compost it thoroughly. In moderate climates, you can cut back the plants to within a couple inches of the ground. Just don't cut into the fleshy crown where the stems join the roots. In areas with frequent freezes, leave about 6 inches of stem. These will protect the crown from exposure during the cold winter days, while still being short enough to prevent most pest infestations.

Mulch wisely

Mulch is a must, particularly in areas with freezing weather and the risk of frost heave. If you had any pests or disease issues during the summer season, remove any of the old organic mulch and dispose of it, since it likely contains the insect and disease pathogens. You should also rake up and remove any fallen leaves or dead plant debris. Then, lay down a fresh 3-inch layer of mulch. Wood chips are frequently used in ornamental beds, but you can also use pine straw or seed-free grass straw. Pull back the mulch so it doesn't rest against the stems of any woody plants, though, to prevent stem rot issues. The mulch insulates the soil against frost heave.

Protect from drying winds

Herbaceous plants aren't generally at risk from drying winter winds, but small woody shrubs and plants can be desiccated. Evergreens are particularly at risk. Wrapping loosely in burlap provides protection, just make sure the top is left open for air circulation. Another option is to erect a windscreen on the windward side, using two stakes with burlap stretched between them. If you have days that are well above freezing, you can water evergreens a small amount to further help prevent winter desiccation.

Contact a landscape contractor for more help.  

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Learning About Landscaping

Hello everyone! I’m Emmanuel Garrison. Welcome to my website about landscaping tips and tricks. The effort you put into establishing a beautiful landscape across your property will pay off in dividends for life. You can easily renew the plants each year and encourage prompt regrowth using the right tactics. You can integrate classic and modern touches to keep your landscape looking absolutely gorgeous for years to come. I appreciate your daily visits to my site and hope to keep you well informed about this topic. Please feel free to stop by at your leisure to learn more about landscaping. Thank you.

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