In this video, Ask This Old House landscape expert Jenn Nawada shows host Kevin O’Connor how to preserve and protect a garden over the winter.
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Landscaping contractor Jenn Nawada shows host Kevin O’Connor everything he needs to know about preparing your garden for winter. Jenn explains that protecting all the hard work performed in the spring, summer, and fall should be the concern before the cold weather arrives. By focusing on water, clean-up, and protection, Jenn dishes on the best ways to protect your plants.
It varies every year, but statistically, plants don’t get a lot of water in October and November. By the time the harsh winter freeze comes along in December, plants are already thirsty. Instead of making those plants wait for April showers, keep them watered before the big freeze.
A few rainfall-type soaks over the late fall months is all it takes to prepare plants, shrubs, and other garden favorites for the winter without getting their roots too soggy.
Giving garden plants a quick clean-up is also important to preserve all the hard work put in over the spring, summer, and fall. How you perform that clean up depends on the type of plant:
* Perennials: For those plants that return year after year, cut them back to within 2 inches of the soil when they start to brown by the end of the season.
* Annuals: Plants that don’t return year after year are called annuals, and the best way to clean them up is to remove them and let them decompose on a compost pile. If you have bulbs on hand, plant a few in the hole left behind after removal.
* Ornamental grasses: It’s your preference. Ornamental grasses can be cut back at the end of the year or left to provide some texture over the winter. Should you decide to leave them, be sure to cut them back in late February or early March before new growth starts.
With the plants watered and cleaned up, the last thing to do is protect them from the elements. There are quite a few methods for protecting garden plants, including insulation, cover, and sprays.
* Mulch: Most folks think of mulching as a spring activity, but 2 to 4 inches of mulch will protect the roots, retain moisture, and insulate them from the harshest temperatures. Use bark mulch, hay, or shredded leaves to protect those tender roots.
* Anti-desiccants: Some garden plants, like broadleaf evergreens or plants that live alongside walkways that see a lot of salts, can lose their moisture to winter winds in a hurry. Coating their leaves with an anti-desiccant will trap the moisture inside the plant, preventing Jack Frost from stealing their precious H2O.
* Twine: Sometimes, all it takes to protect a plant over the winter is a bit of twine. Wrapping a shrub or plant with a bit of twine will hold its branches together and help it retain its structure under heavy snow.
* Burlap: Areas that see a lot of traffic, snow, salt, or windy areas might require burlap to protect the plant. By wrapping the plant in burlap and tying twine around the outside, the plant is able to retain its shape in almost any weather, while also allowing airflow and moisture to penetrate through to the plant.
Where to find it?
Jenn gives tips on how to winterize your garden. She explains how to prepare different plants for winter, including echinacea, mums, tulip bulbs, ornamental grass, juniper, and boxwoods. She also suggests ways to protect your shrubs over the winter: by using anti-desiccant spray, burlap, and twine. All plants and materials can be sourced at garden centers.
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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
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How to Protect Your Garden From Cold Weather | Ask This Old House