Protecting Plants During The Winter – 9 (Easy) Steps
Aren’t you just sick and tired of seeing your valuable plants completely destroyed in the winter?
But the great news is there are some simple steps for protecting your plants in the winter.
In this post I am going to show you these steps. And the best thing?
They cost next to nothing.
Not only is winter by far the coldest season of the year, but the freezing weather is often accompanied by heavy snow and frosty winds.
Plants are usually badly exposed to these harsh elements and very few are able to safely endure the winter period. Protecting plants in the winter can be a real struggle.
The truth is:
Plants struggle to make it through winter due to several reasons.
- To begin with, soil freezes and becomes more compact during winter. This makes it difficult for roots to access nutrients and develop.
- The cold winter winds also strip moisture from plant leaves causing them to dry up.
- In regions that get snow, the added weight of snow on leaves and branches can cause some parts to break off, and in extreme cases bring down entire trees.
But you’re in luck:
Plants can be protected against the harsh winter weather using some of the methods listed below.
So let’s dive in…
Above – If you don’t have time to read all of this post the video above gives you three quick ways to protect your plants from cold weather.
Protect Plants During The Winter – The 9 Steps
#1 – Place Potted Plants Indoors
Potted plants are more likely to be affected by the cold winter temperatures compared to those planted directly on the ground.
This is because their roots become exposed to freezing temperature from both the pot and the surface of the soil.
And another thing:
Most potted plants are usually ornamental species native to the warmer tropical climates. They therefore lack the adaptations necessary for them to survive cold winters.
Plants need sunlight to grow and you’ll have to take this into account when choosing a suitable spot to place them inside the house.
What it means is this:
Positioning potted plants near windows will ensure that they receive adequate sunlight throughout the day.
You should however avoid placing the plants near air vents as the cold air circulating through these vents can rob the plants of moisture.
#2 – Cover Outdoor Pots
You can also protect the roots of potted plants during winter by insulating the pots.
I know people often ask can you use bubble wrap to protect plants from frost? The answer is a big yes – bubble wrap is a perfect material for this exercise.
It couldn’t be easier:
Simply wrap the container from the bottom to the top and then tie the bubble wrap to the plant’s stem to cover the open part of the pot.
Doing this will not only insulate the pot but also protect the soil from the winter elements.
#3 – Mulching
Covering the ground surface around a plant with a thick layer of mulch will insulate the ground below and help in maintaining a stable soil temperature.
As the organic material in the mulch undergoes decomposition, heat is produced and this will also provide the roots with extra warmth.
Here’s the secret:
By spreading a layer of mulch to a thickness of about 4 to 6 inches, you will not only protect the roots from suffocation due to fluctuating temperatures but also enrich the soil with nutrients.
You can use pine straw, shredded leaves or wood shavings as mulching material. You can also check out my reviews of the best leaf mulchers and yourself your very own mulcher.
#4- Cover Plants
A cover can be placed over plants that are less than 5 feet tall to protect them from frost, snow and dry winter wind.
You can use a polythene sheet or fabric covers such as blankets or quilts. The basic idea behind this method is to create a cushion of air between the plant and the protective cover.
This method can only be effective when there is no contact between the cover and the plant.
You will have to erect a supporting cane next to the plant to act as a prop for the cover. This cane has to be slightly taller than the plant to provide sufficient room at the top.
You can drape the cover over the plant and secure it to the ground using concrete bricks or rocks.
Most fabric covers will block sunlight from reaching the plant. Such covers should therefore be taken off periodically when the weather improves for the plant to access sunlight before being placed back again.
#5 – Knock Off Snow From Tree Branches
Accumulating snow on tree branches puts plenty of extra weight on branches and leaves. This can cause them to sag or even break off.
Here’s the deal:
Young trees, hedges and shrubs are the most vulnerable to injuries arising from heavy snow. You can prevent such damage by using a broom or a long pole to knock off snow from the branches and leaves of such plants before the snow freezes.
Ensure that you do this as gently as possible to ensure that you don’t inadvertently injure the plant in the process.
#6 – Use Anti-Transpirant Spray
Of all the winter plant protection products anti-transpirant spray is my favourite. The leaves of evergreen plants and shrubs can be sprayed with anti-transpirant to prevent them from drying out during winter.
And the best part?
Anti-transpirant can be purchased at any gardening supplies store. A single round of spraying will protect the leaves from drying and frost damage for up to 3 months.
It is advisable to spray your plants before winter begins.
#7 – Build A Temporary Shelter
You can construct a frame to cover small outdoor plants such as flowers and other perennials.
The frame should be able to protect the plants against snow and dry winds without blocking out sunlight.
The great thing is it is a piece of cake:
A simple frame can be constructed by erecting four wooden poles around the plants and placing a transparent sheet of polythene over the poles all the way to the ground.
The polythene sheet can be secured at the bottom with concrete blocks or heavy rocks. You can leave a small gap at one edge of the frame for ventilation.
#8 – Avoid Stepping On Lawn Grass During Winter
Grass cannot be covered or moved to a different location during adverse weather conditions.
Most species of grass will become dormant during the winter months before going through a new growth phase when the weather gets warmer.
Walking on grass when the ground is frozen will harm the plants even though they might be dormant.
Frozen grass leaves will easily break off when pressure is applied to them. Furthermore, stepping on frozen soil can also lead to further compaction of the soil, causing more problems for the roots below.
This part is easy:
Create a single path for walking across the lawn during winter to avoid disturbing the whole lawn area.
#9 – Water The Soil
Watering the soil during winter might sound like a bad idea but it actually helps. Moist soil retains heat more effectively compared to dry soil.
But remember this:
You should never water the plant when the soil is already frozen as this will cause the soil to harden further and choke the roots.
So there you go it really is that simple to protect your plans during the colder winter months. But if you can think of anything I have left off please let me know.
Want to learn more about making the most of your home and your garden in winter? You can find further information here: