The winter is upon us! As our first snowfall of the year melts away, it’s time we make final preparations to ensure our gardens and landscapes will withstand Kansas City’s beloved Jack Frost. Don’t worry, it’s not too late! There are several steps you can take to ensure your plants, soil, and other outdoor amenities survive the winter months. The Greenleaf Garden Services team wants to share them with you!
Be Wary of Over Fertilizing Your Plants
First, you don’t want to over fertilize your plants before winter. Why you ask? Providing plants with extra nutrients will promote new growth, but this can be detrimental when combined with colder temperatures, freeze/thaw of soil, and reduced moisture. Instead, think about protecting your plants and soil by adding soil amendments or other organic matter such as leaves to allow microorganisms a chance to convert them into usable energy. Various wood chip mulches, straw, or evergreen branches can also be use to insulate the soil, reduce moisture loss, and protect less established plants from upheaving. But, save yourself time and money by using the leaves that are already in your or a neighbor’s yard.
Protect Your Plants! Cover Them With Blankets or Tarps
Covering your plants with blankets and/or tarps is also another viable option to protect your plants, especially if you are unable to bring many inside your home. This will reduce the overall effect that colder temperatures can have on existing or new plant material. If you use this method, be sure to use wooden stakes or other props to minimize the amount of contact your ‘blanket’ has with plant foliage as these areas can often become susceptible to damage if, and when, a freeze occurs. Wilt Pruf is one product that we use on several evergreen trees and shrubs to allow them a better fighting chance during colder weather. Winter winds in combination with frozen ground can deprive a plant of its natural moisture intake. Spraying Wilt Pruf on evergreen foliage and stems can lock in excess moisture and help reduce water loss.
Don’t Forget the Winter Watering
Probably the most important tip of all, WATER, WATER, WATER! While it is important that we give our plants a healthy watering before the ground freezes, it still remains important to water occasionally throughout the winter. Imagine how well you yourself would function if drinking minimal water for several months. Plants are no different! They need water to survive. When the ground isn’t frozen or when we experience relatively milder weeks, hook that hose back up or however you water and give your plants a drink. You’ll be thankful you did once springs hits.
Final Winter Prep Around the Outside of Your Home
Some final notes on various things to consider. If you haven’t already, disconnect your hoses to ensure pipes don’t freeze but keep them accessible for the occasional winter watering. Covering outdoor furniture and fountains will help them last without damage from temperature and moisture extremes. Making sure outdoor containers are emptied or soil levels reduced so they are not damaged from repetitive freezing is also important. This does not mean they have to be empty however, wintergreen arrangements or other sculptural elements can be added to provide winter interest.
Related Read: 3 DIY Ways to Spruce Up Your Entryway with Wintergreens
To conclude, remember that it is never too early to begin planning for spring and summer projects. Winter months offer a great opportunity to decide what changes are needed as well as what new improvements could add to your overall landscape. The Greenleaf team wishes you a wonderful holiday season and see you in the spring!