Winter is Coming – Here’s What to Do to Winterize Your Garden
The seasons are changing and the weather is cooling, meaning one important thing – it’s time to winterize your garden. What is winterizing, you ask? Winterizing is preparing your garden for the tumultuous weather ahead so next year, a fresh, clean start welcomes you into the spring season.
It’s important to determine your plant hardiness zone before beginning. This number represents the highest and lowest temperatures a region is expected to see. For example, Massachusetts has a plant hardiness zone number of between 5a and 7a, as the temperature fluctuates. Although the state doesn’t often go below negative twenty, it’s not out of the question, so plant hardiness must be considered based on these extreme temperatures.
Once you determine your plant hardiness zone, you can see if the plant varieties your garden hosts can withstand your region’s winter. If they might have trouble, there are a few things you can do to help them survive.
Water Management, Soil Prep, and Pest Prevention
One of the most important aspects to consider when winterizing your garden is water management. It is important that plants and trees have enough water in their root zone before the ground freezes. NutriRoot is an excellent solution, and it provides many additional benefits as well. NutriRoot is a unique blend of ingredients that helps roots grow, holds moisture in the soil, and supports soil biology.
Simply mix NutriRoot into a watering can and saturate the soil around your plants. Using this solution in the fall helps plants absorb the water and nutrients they need to avoid winter injury and damage.
NutriRoot also gives soil a boost as earthworms and microbes continue to process the organic material in the soil. Before winter hits, gardeners should discard diseased plant material, add new mulch, and water their garden with NutriRoot to ensure they are starting with top quality soil next season.
Another way to prepare your soil is to add a biochar blend such as ARBORChar Root, Flower & Fruit. ARBORChar is a biochar and naturally derived nutrient/mineral blend that improves leaf vigor, root and fruit development, and soil microbiology. By adding a solution like this to your garden now, you can boost the biology in your soil and build it out for the spring.
Before bringing your plants inside if you’re choosing to do so, spray them with an insecticide such as AzaSol or Eco-Mite Plus. It is also good to treat any perennials or shrubs that had infestations this season to make sure no pests will survive and infiltrate your garden come spring.
More Winterizing Tips
There are a few additional steps you’ll want to take to ensure your garden is ready to withstand the winter:
- Divide. Before you put your plants to bed, you may choose to divide certain species. We suggest taking this step first before following any of our other tips.
- Don’t fertilize in late fall. If you give your plants a dose of food late in the season, it will attempt new vegetative growth. This new, tender growth won’t have the time to harden or mature before the first frost, and the plant may become damaged.
- Amend the soil. NutriRoot and ARBORChar will help amend the soil, and you may also decide to add organic matter like compost, manure, or earthworm castings to insulate and add nutrition.
- Prune and protect. Cut back your plants (depending on the species) to minimize damage from wind and frost. Prune any suckers and dead branches.
- Clean up debris. By removing debris on the ground next to the plant, you will reduce the chance of pathogens like fungi, bacteria, or soil borne diseases infecting your plants next season.
- Mulch and insulate. Add a good 4 to 6 inches of mulch as an insulating barrier. When the sun begins to break through again in the spring, plants may be tricked into becoming active early, and this insulation keeps plants from freezing after ingesting water.
- Put up wind barriers or windbreaks. This is ideal for small trees or shrubs that can’t protect themselves. Drive four stakes into the ground for support, and use burlap or another permeable material to make a box over the plant.
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