Winter Plant Health Care Tips

Winter Plant Health Care Tips

Just like you, your home, and your pets, your plants suffer during the colder months. You have cold-weather clothing for yourself, you run the water to make sure the pipes don’t freeze, and even buy special shoes for when you take the dog out to do their business. But what kind of preparations do you have in store for your outdoor foliage?

Truth be told, plants are more susceptible to freezing due to a lack of insulation, coverage, and direct contact with the cold breezes. Ice and snow descend and remain on the branches, leaves (the ones that didn’t fall off), and roots, slowing the traditional flow of nutrients within. Even the sunlight is no respite to the bitterness your plants are feeling at these times.

 

But there are things you can do to give them a fighting chance.

7 Tips to Help You Save Your Freezing Plants

A few routine changes, some minor adjustments, and a little consideration, and your plants are sure to survive the winter none the worse for wear.

1. Watering

There are two huge reasons why plants die during the colder months. First, when you water, if the water sits too long in the roots, the roots can rot. Root rot is irreparable and will kill your plants no matter what time of year. The other culprit is freezing water on the surface. The ice will not allow the plants to get the water they need. Keep an eye on your watering habits and make sure the soil is not over saturated.

2. Fertilizer

Plants survive better when they are strong, and nothing gives plants the nutrients they need to optimize their strength like a good helping of fertilizer. There is a school of thought that fertilizing should slow in the fall months, stopping in winter, but this is wrong. Continue with your routine, keep the chain of nutrients flowing, and feed those roots.

3. Mulching

Mulch is like a warm blanket for your plants. Mulch also helps the plants retain moisture. And, even in the snow, it makes your landscape look very clean. And it doesn’t matter if you use compost, tree mulch, or your favorite brand of synthetic mulch. It all works beautifully.

4. Weeding

Unlike your chosen plants that can die during the harsh months, weeds happily grow and choke everything around them. It might be cold outside, but you still must weed your garden, shrubbery, and anywhere else you have recently put new life into the ground.

5. Removing The Dead

Dead parts of your plants suck up nutrients that they cannot translate into growth. The living parts of your plants need all the help they can get this time of year, and the last thing they need is dead sections stealing food and water. Prune your plants, trim as needed, and discard those bits accordingly.

6. Native Plants

Some plants are prone to survive the colder months. If you know you live in an area that will see a severe cold snap or a long period of low temperatures, selecting plants that will have a high rate of success enduring the chill is a simple solution. They require minimal care and even less stress.

7. Plant In the Ground

Plants in pots don’t have the security and insulation to protect your plant’s roots, whereas a plant in the ground has its roots below the dirt, snug and safe. And where you plant in the ground makes a difference. Your garden will react differently than planting in your ground soil.

Other Considerations

Timing is everything. Avoid starting to plant until after the final frost of the winter. You might be eager to get those new buds in the ground as soon as the sun seems to be getting warmer and the snow melts off, but you can hinder their growth by planting too soon. Track the weather, plan ahead, and know before you plant.

Big plants can be covered with blankets, sheets, and even trash bags to keep the frost from settling on the branches and leaves. This only works with plants that can handle the weight, and it is not recommended if you live somewhere with lots of wind. If your area is prone to gusty winds and blizzard conditions, weighing them down is possible but can cause more harm than good.

A little extra prep goes a long way. Liquid plant food in the spring will remain in the plants until the winter months when you should switch to pellets. And the number of nutrients in the fertilizer should be more thorough to make them stronger before the bad months approach. Planning 6 months ahead of the problem is a worthwhile way to save your plants.

The last option and this is unlikely with some of your plant choices, but if you can bring them into the warmth, making your outdoor plants into indoor plants for a little while, they will never have to suffer the chill and will thrive. This is tricky, must be done in advance of the winter, and can be very time-consuming, but ultimately is worth it if you don’t want to replace your plants every year.

 

Final Thoughts

Plants oxygenate the air, make your home look more attractive, and can improve your sense of connection with life and nature. They are living things and must always be on your list of winter preparations. Treat them as a part of the family and they will give you company and warmth for a long time.

If you have questions about tree service or plant health care or would like an estimate, give us a call at 978-768-6999 or click here to contact us.

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