Winter can cause a lot of damage to your garden if you don’t prepare it for the chilly weather. We have put together this handy guide on how to prevent winter damage by preparing your garden in these 10 simple steps.
1. Tidy up and put away
Garden furniture is vulnerable to damage over the winter and the best way to protect it is to put it away in garden storage such as a wooden or metal shed. Put any soft furnishings in plastic bin bags to protect against dust and damp.
Garden tools also need to be put away in the winter to stop them from rusting; the best place to store garden tools is upright in a pot of sand. The sand soaks up water which prevents rusting and helps to keep the tools nice and sharp.
Organising your garden shed, workshop or potting shed is a good way to start for some tips about organising a garden shed please check out our handy guide here.
2. Insulate outdoor taps
If your taps have a habit of freezing in the winter then you can prevent this by insulating them with an outdoor tap insulator. They are inexpensive and all you need to do is place them over your tap.
3. Check garden structures
British weather can be a big threat to garden structures and garden fencing so make sure that you prepare them to battle the winter weather. Check over the buildings for damage such as split panels, loose nails or damaged felting. If panels need replacing do that before the worst of the weather hits. For more advice about preparing garden buildings and fencing for winter check out our handy guides here.
4. Cover drains and clear out gutters
Autumn leaves look lovely sprinkled across our gardens and pavements however they can unleash havoc on our drains and gutters. Make sure that your drains are well covered (plastic covers are great for this) and that your gutters are free of mulch. Clogged up gutters can lead to damage and leaking so this should be kept on top of all year round.
5. Winter cut
If you let snow and frost settle on long grass, bushes and hedges then this will stunt growth and damage the roots which could lead to you undoing a year’s worth of work. Mow the lawn and tidy up edges before the worst of the weather draws in. Hedges will only need one last trim before spring if you take it back as far as you can.
6. Wrap Up
To prevent winter damage to plants and flowers you will need to cover them up. Not all plants need covering just young fruit trees, non-hardy boarder plants (perennials) and plants that are used to the warmer climate. Cold frames are great and can last for years and years or polytunnles are also good for keeping plants safe during winter. Horticultural fleece or wrapping should be wrapped around trees.
7. Add some mulch
Mulch helps to insulate plants during the winter. Great mulch for insulation are straw, bark, wood chippings and manure. Add mulch to the base of fruit trees, vegetable beds and boarders to keep plants healthy throughout the chilly months.
Keeping soil moist actually produces more heat than dry soil does. In order to prevent the soil freezing give your garden a good water first thing in the morning.
9. Bring in pots and hanging baskets
Potted plants are much more vulnerable than those planted directly into the ground, the soil in pots doesn’t drain as easily and the wet weather can drown your plants.
It is best to move pots and hanging baskets into a greenhouse until spring, you don't need a huge greenhouse for this, a small lean-to greenhouse will be sufficient. Any young plants should also be taken inside to help them grow over the winter months.
Make sure that you harvest herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil before bringing them in to encourage growth in the spring. You should also prune your plants by cutting away dead heads and leaves before tucking them in for winter.
10. Aerate lawn
Lawns take a lot of care during the spring and summer to keep healthy, don’t let the winter destroy your hard work. Keep your lawn healthy in winter by aerating it during October and November.
Aerating the lawn basically means putting in lots of small holes into the soil to help water and nutrients to get to the roots quicker thus resulting in a nice healthy lawn. You can aerate using a pitch fork or a plugging machine.
By completing these easy garden tasks, your garden should be well prepared to battle the winter weather. For more gardening advice from us here at Waltons please go to the Gardening Tips section of the Waltons Blog or click the arrows below to see more articles.