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The seasons are changing. The trees are starting to look bare as they shed all of their leaves and the mornings feel crips. Soon winter will officially arrive. Cold snaps can occur unexpectedly, and the shifting mercury takes a toll on plants. Ideally, you should start preparing for winter by protecting your landscape plants to help minimize damage. In this article, we explore ways to protect your garden plants so they can safely overwinter and emerge in the springer stronger than ever before. 

Add a Layer of Mulch

Mulch is the garden’s black gold. It adds nutrients to the soil and also provides protection. Applying a layer of mulch to your landscape will provide a layer of protection to prevent heaving and uplifting of the soil due to freeze-thaw cycles. Soil heaving is extremely dangerous because it can push shallow-rooted plants out of the ground. As the soil shifts, it will expose the crowns of plants and tender roots. Mulch insulates the soil to prevent the entire disruptive thaw and freeze cycles. The mulch also holds in excessive soil moisture to provide added insulation. 

Apply three to five inches of mulch across the surface of the soil and around the base of plants. You can use pine straw, chopped leaves, bark, or other mulch material such as recycled rubber. 

Watering During the Winter 

You might mistakenly believe that you do not have to water plants during the winter because they are dormant. However, there are actually many reasons to continue irrigating, even in the winter months. During the cold, dry winter, evergreens, and shrubs often lose a great deal of water, especially if it’s windy. Plants often need supplement watering at least once per month in the winter to help keep the soil moist. 

During the winter, many plants actively grow their root systems even if their canopy has died. Soil moisture offers protection during cold snaps. Irrigate at least 24 hours before a hard freeze. 

Protect Trees

Trees with smooth or thin bark can benefit from a trunk wrap. Wrap the trunk in the late fall to protect the tree from injury or sunscald. Tree damage often occurs as a result of freezing and thawing of the water within the tree or shrub’s vascular system. Use a protective commercial material to prevent winter sunscald. In the spring, remove the trunk wraps. 

A newly planted tree will also need staking to prevent its trunk from breaking, especially if the root ball starts showing signs of heaving. 

Container Plant Protection

Many gardeners winter their plants in containers with no significant problems but in extreme zones, container plants might not survive. Ideally, you should consider bringing your container plants indoors or placing them in a sheltered location to overwinter. Usually, simply covering the plants during the coldest night is not sufficient. 

Winter garden protection is a necessary step to ensure that your plants survive the wintry weather and emerge in the spring strong and healthy. Contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to stock up on necessary nutrients to prepare for spring.