Jims Mowing - Garden care for the winter days

With the onset of winter, temperatures start dropping and the plants in your garden are preparing for the dormant days. It might appear that all activity in your garden has come to a stop. But, there is plenty happening underneath soil till the temperatures reach freezing levels. Your newly transplanted shrubs and trees, hardy bulbs and perennials are all busy growing their roots drawing moisture and nutrients from the soil around. Different microbes and earthworms resident in the soil get busy processing organic material they can find. Even as all these activities are happening underneath the soil, your plants need be protected from the cold and frigid days. Considering all these, here are some useful tips to ensure that your garden remains healthy throughout the winter and beyond.

Garden care can be an enjoyable DIY job when you have the necessary skills and physical ability. But, for those who cannot devote adequate quality time to tend for the garden, hiring professional lawn service providers is the best solution. Remember that professional lawn service providers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. They understand the type of soil, plants that are best suited for your garden and layout that best suits your garden.

Spent Plants

A major measure that will aid a healthy garden during winter is cleaning up the rotting and finished plants. By removing these old plants you are not only tidying up the garden, but also preventing spread of pests, diseases and fungi. Once the old plants are removed, you can bury them (if they are free from diseases) and prevent most of the garden pests spreading during the spring days. Further, by burying the spent plans, you are also improving soil health through organic matter.




Pruning

Pruning is helpful for removing dead plant and promoting growth of the larger shoots for the upcoming growth season. While pruning the flowering trees and shrubs, you should prune the summer and autumn flowering trees and shrubs during early spring or late winter. You can also prune them when the flowers start fading.

For the deciduous plants pruning for re-growth in spring should be undertaken since most of them remain dormant or inactive during the winter days. Further, it is easier for you to comprehend the shape since the foliage of the plants is gone. The following measures will ensure best results:-

* Start pruning the dead or diseased branches

* Choose a dry day for pruning

* Remove the overgrown and smaller branches at the crown of the tree/plant so that it gets more light and air

* Don’t prune of branches that are critical for the structure of the tree and are still developing.

* Cut branches at the point where a branch or a twig is attached to the other.




Perennials

By design, perennials can grow back every year even after the winter days. Like bears, the perennials also move into hibernation and get back brighter after a good amount of rest. However, it is important that you understand each perennial since the winter impacts different plants differently. When it comes to preparing for the winter, it gets pretty easy with the perennials since they just need small amount of mulching and cutting back to afford protection from winter. But, for plants that are used to warm climate, you will need some additional maintenance.

Preparing the Cool-Climate Shrubs and Trees

The shrubs and trees in your garden need some preparation to endure the cool climate. You can do the following to achieve this:-

* Young trees and shrubs can be transplanted to a new location in the garden during early fall

* In regions that experience sparse rainfall, the shrubs and trees should be watered deeply; particularly the evergreens before freezing temperatures impact the ground.

* Once the ground freezes, you should spread mulch upto a height of 6 inches with chopped leaves and other organic material.

* The young shrubs and trees should be fertilized if they have been standing for over an year. Old and established trees however may not need fertilizer and more so, when they are properly mulched.




Preparing Shrubs and Trees that can Adapt to Warm Climate

Some shrubs and trees can stand the warm climate and preparing these for winter is different from the treatment given to shrubs and trees for the cool climate. For the warm climate trees, you can do the following:-

*  Water the avocado and citrus trees deeply so that the fruit is protected from splitting

*  If you have camellias in the garden, water them regularly to protect the buds from browning and consequently dropping off. Mulching these plants with pine needles is a good idea too. To see larger blooms you can disbud the camellias.

* Tropical shrubs and trees should not be fed beyond September so that they get time to harden ahead of winter dormancy.

* Look out for injured branches on the shrubs and trees and prune them away.




Planting Bulbs

Bulbs including tulips and daffodils need be planted around the onset of winter since they need significantly more time before they start blooming in spring. Cool temperature is also essential for these bulbs so that the flowering gets speeded up.

When you plant bulbs during fall, they should be soaked in warm water at least for 12 hours prior to planting and more so, with the tunicate type of bulbs that present round, enclosed or teardrop shaped bulbs. This method, however, may not be sited for lilies and similar bulbs sporting fleshy scales.

Soaking the bulbs helps in absorbing adequate water for fast growth and save you several weeks of time, particularly in northern climates. To promote blooming of the bulbs you can divide them and add fertilizer.

For bulbs with fewer flowers or no flowers at all, you can consider dividing or fertilizing them ahead of others. You may also choose bulb fertilizers with a slow-release property so that it remains effective during early spring.




Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the key to prepare your garden for the winter days. By following the tips provided above, you can expect better yields apart from helping you enjoy a beautiful garden during the spring and summer days.


This article was written by Mack – [Arborist, Jim’s Mowing Mornington Peninsula]
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