Whether your garden gets hit with a light frost, a hard freeze, heavy blankets of snow, high winds or even an ice storm during colder months, harsh winter weather events can harm or kill off plants in your garden.
With some easy preparation, you can protect your garden plants from frost, freeze and wind damage to help them survive harsh conditions.
Protect Your Plants From Harsh Winter Weather
- Insulate. Spread a fresh 2- to 4-inch blanket of mulch to protect plants. Damage caused by freezing and thawing is the most serious threat to dormant perennials and shrubs in a low-snow winter. You could also use shredded leaves or any other kind of organic matter, such as newspapers, to protect the root systems of your plants. Just leave a half inch of space around the base to prevent rot.
- Wrap. Keep plants protected with a row or plant cover, or garden blanket. Another option: burlap. Take caution with roses and stick to insulating only, as roses should not be covered. Remember, garden blankets are designed for short periods during overnight frosts and light freezes. Floating row covers provide frost and wind protection. Be sure to brush off any snow that begins weighing down your plant covers.
- Take cover. Don’t leave your plants hanging. Remove your containers, too. Store your plants in covered places such as a porch or patio until the weather passes. The warmth of your home will help keep your containers and hanging plants insulated. Consider keeping your big containers on wheels or plant caddies so you can quickly roll the plants to safety.
- Resist watering. Water thoroughly several days ahead of expected frost or freeze, snow or ice, if possible. Otherwise, it’s best not to water your plants until temperatures rise above freezing. If you must, try watering early as the day warms up so plants get time to dry out.
- Go greenhouse. If you’ve been thinking of investing in a greenhouse, perhaps now is the time to plan for one. Many small greenhouses offer plenty of protection from winter weather.
Blow Snow Away from Plants
TIP: For regions that get a lot of snow and users of snow blowers, steer your blower or shovel your snow away from uncovered or covered plants. The weight of excess snow could really do damage.
No matter what, use caution and instincts and your garden will thrive when the weather warms up again.
For more winter prep and recovery tips, read Landscape and Garden Tips: How to Prep and Recover from Winter Storms.