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How To Prepare Your Garden For Autumn and Winter

How to prepare your garden for fall and winter

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Winter can be a dangerous time for your garden. As the golden leaves begin to fall, it’s a good idea to cover tender plants, bring pots inside, and apply mulch for extra frost protection.

“As we prepare for Autumn it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable cold weather hits the UK soon and it’s better to plan ahead to keep your garden in top condition before it’s too late is,” says the team at Stark & ​​Greensmith.

With the Met Office predicting a cold snap to sweep across the UK, it’s time to start thinking about how you can help your plants survive the falling temperatures. Read on for everything you need to do…

1. Place the plants in a cold frame

Cold, wet, windy and freezing weather can harm garden plants. A good way to protect young plants from the first frost is to use a cold frame. Easy-to-use bottomless boxes to be placed over plants in the garden to protect them from the cold.

Martine Le Gassick, gardening expert and creative director at Stark & ​​Greensmith, explains: “When temperatures are lower than normal, try covering your cold frame with bubble wrap, horticultural fleece or layers of newspaper as these will give your plants extra warmth and help prevent any frost damage to reduce”

2. Cover with a garden bell

Garden cloches are low enclosures used to cover plants. They offer protection from a range of factors, cleverly letting water, air and light through while providing protection from frost (and herbivorous pests).

Place the plants in well-drained bells and cover the soil to insulate them, experts say. This allows the plant to “breathe” while reducing the likelihood of nutrients being lost through leaching.

3. Bring in potted plants

The easiest way to protect your potted plants from freezing temperatures is to place them in a more sheltered spot indoors. “Potted plants are more susceptible to frost damage. That’s because they don’t have isolated advantages over soil,” says Martine.

“We recommend bringing potted plants indoors, as cold weather can kill or dramatically slow plant growth. The best time to bring plants indoors is when nighttime temperatures drop below 12-15°C. Try moving plants to warmer climates, such as conservatories, porches, and greenhouses.”

Another tip is to identify your garden’s warm spots and areas of reduced airflow, ideally along the house or along a fence or wall. “Heat radiating from the house and the reduced airflow created by being on a surface protects you from the most severe cold and keeps your plants alive longer in the winter.”

4. Add mulch

From garden compost to shredded bark, many tender plants benefit from mulch over their roots for added winter protection. Simply cover your garden beds with a thick layer of organic matter, and it will help perennials survive repeated freezes and thaws, while also reducing soil erosion that often follows heavy rain in wet months.

Close up of frost on plant leaves in autumn

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5. Add wind protection

Strong winds can damage plants by breaking them and distorting their growth. Windbreaks, often known as shelterbelts, are semi-permeable barriers that can protect young and weak plants from gusts of wind. Strategic placement of windbreaks with fleece netting can also help with insulation.

6. Improve drainage

“Drainage problems should be addressed immediately, as soggy and wet soil can make young or shallow-rooted trees more likely to uproot, as well as deprive the roots of oxygen and cause them to die,” adds Martine.

7. Limit feeding your plant

It is important that you let your plants dormant over the winter. According to Martine, gardeners should avoid applying high-nitrogen fertilizers late in the season because they stimulate succulent growth in plants that are susceptible to damage in colder conditions. Few plants need fertilizer during the winter months, even if they are winter flowering.

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