Winterize your garden

Edited by Lynn, Eng, Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo

Winterizing Annuals and Perennials in the Garden


While wintertime evokes a sense of nostalgia for us all, it brings into mind a snow-covered environment, snow flurries and blustering winds and other activities we do during this season. However, winter time can wreak havoc in the garden. Most plants in the United States cold spells, from the evergreens in the coastal Northeast to the succulents in the sunny Southwest. The vegetation in our yard practically is in danger of catching host of disease and even dying. Below are the steps and practical ways to follow so that your plants can survive all winter and thrive for the coming seasons.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help


Quick Winterizing Guide

  1. 1
    Remove all annuals (petunias, geraniums, marigolds, impatiens, begonias,etc.) from your garden beds and containers.
    Once these delicate plants get nipped by the eventual frosts, they do become unsightly and will die down rapidly.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Decaying plants in the garden can also provide a perfect nesting site for insects and other small rodents to spend the winter, so be sure to remove them and if possible put them in your yard waste pick up.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Perennial flowers (those that come back year after year and can survive the winter) need to be cut back close to ground level in late fall (except for the ornamental grasses, lavender, and Russian sage, which are all pruned back in early spring).
    This is done to protect from wind whipping (the crown of the plant is damaged and/or lifted out of the soil) and to give a more aesthetically pleasing "look" to your yard.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    You can compost all this material if you have the room and are able.
    Most hardware stores carry composters for a nominal price.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    For perennial flowers that are less hardy, like Chrysanthemums, or windswept areas, cover plants with mulch.
    This will aid in keeping the plant crown warm and snug over the winter.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Also for those more sensitive plants, like Azaleas or Rhododendrons, will benefit greatly from erecting a burlap screen around them.
    This is very easy to do - just stick in some sturdy wooden stakes around the plant (three or four will do depending on plant size) then staple the burlap to the posts, wrapping as you go, making a circle of burlap around your plant. Don't wrap too tightly as your plants do require airflow. The purpose of the burlap is to protect these more delicate plants from the harsh winter winds.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Lastly, before things freeze up, give your plants a good drink.
    Keeping hydrated and strong over the dormant growing season is a definite benefit. This will help to give your garden an extra advantage to get through the upcoming cold winter months. And the benefit will be wonderful; lush, "happy" plants the following spring and summer! It will take a bit of work, but will most definitely be worth the effort.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Preparing your Garden to Withstand Winter

  1. 1
    Remove weeds, invasive plants and other debris.
    Fall is a time where weeds go to seed, seed cases and pods cases burst open, releasing this invasive plants and choking your plants. If you don't want to suffer manually picking up or raking crab apples, you can simply try collecting them through the use of a shop vacuum. If, however there is no time for pulling up invasive plants by the roots, simply clip or chop their heads before their seed/pods are released. Remember to discard all seed heads in a trash bin, never n a compost heap. If you have a big patch of weed, you can smother it over winter by simply covering it up with a big sheet of black plastic (try garbage bags) and weight it down by rocks or bricks.

    Sometime, a garden plant can find legs and begin to spread as well as take over your garden. By fall however, it will have long worn out its life. Pull or dig out intruding plants completely and dispose them properly. You can also try using herbicides to spot treat them, just be careful though. Follow label precautions regarding how and when to spray. Be careful not to over-spray and affect your other innocent plants nearby.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Prepare your Soil for Spring.
    Once you remove all garden invasive plants and other debris, it's simple to prepare beds for next the spring. There are usually advantages for you to test your soil in addition to amending the idea in fall. You'll have sufficient time to include needed amendments on the soil before cold temperature sets in. The cool weather tends to make autumn a good time for you to break new ground from your plants. Top beds off which has a 3- or perhaps 4-inch stratum of compost in and simply leave it. Winter down pours will leach nutrients in the soil to provide your plants a head start in the coming spring, and when you prepare your soil, the topping is going to be easy to work with into your soil at planting time.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Divide Perennials for a trouble-free spring.
    Fall is an excellent time for you to divide perennials intended for gardeners practically in most parts of the United States. The plants tend to remain dormant at this time and won't end up becoming shocked simply by cutting, cutting or transplanting. And also weather circumstances are good-nurtured. The soil will remain warm and the autumn rain will usually supply a clean and steady supply of water to your transplants. When spring comes, they will repay your efforts with a vigorous, fresh start. Spring is a better alternative for putting division in cold climates, where the cold temperature are difficult for transplants.

    To tell if our plants needs divisions, simply notice that most plants benefits from division every three to five years. Some sort of clump associated with plants should be divided if it is not flowering in addition to past flowering days, if uncovered spots appear down the middle of the heap, if plants inside clump washout over or maybe if facilities spread to the issue of getting invasive.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Fertilize your Lawn.
    Fertilizing is generally not recommended for plants heading into the winter, because it causes new growth that can be damaged by cold. But lawns are an exception and should be fertilized in fall. If you live in a mild climate and your grass has just endured a long, hot summer, fertilize it in mid-fall. In cool regions, fertilize in late summer or early fall with a lawn fertilizer especially made for fall fertilizing. The lawn food for plants intended for fall use stimulates root growth, better enabling grass to withstand winter. It also lets the grass store food that will get it off to a good start next year.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Plant spring-blooming bulbs.
    Autumn would be the right time to plant strong, spring-blooming bulbs. Don't put this off too overdue; if the terrain gets drenched by rains or freezes over, the project is going to be difficult or bound to be messy. Buy large, firm bulbs in addition to plant them at the depth recommended by the vendor for your neighborhood. A rule of thumb should be to sink them to a depth of 2-3 times their diameter. If you have trouble with rodents digging upward your bulbs, sprinkle gritty gravel in to the planting hole as well as encase your bulbs in hardware cloth before planting. Straw is definitely an attractive nesting product for rodents; don't apply it as mulch all-around bulbs.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Dig and store tender corms and bulbs.
    Within cold-climate areas, fall would be the time to rescue the bulbs as well as corms of sore summer plants such as caladiums, cannas as well as dahlias, which will get cold and die if left in the ground over the cold winter months. Dig them up for the reason that foliage turns brownish in early slide, trim off the residual foliage or flower stalks, let them air dry to get a week and subsequently layer them within paper bags loaded with peat moss or perhaps vermiculite. Store the bags in a cool, dark location, such as any basement or awesome closet. If the storage area is humid, dust the bulbs with all the organic fungicide sulfur just before bagging them as well as slit the bags for better venting. Check the lamps monthly; discard any which look soft as well as sprinkle water on people that look shriveled.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Water and safeguard vulnerable plants from winter.
    Freezing ground locks upward water, creating a new drought situation, which could injure or eliminate plants. So provide your plants, via perennials to bushes, a good, long soaking ahead of the soil freezes throughout late fall.

    In cold climates in which the ground freezes, great, 4- to 8-inch organic mulch is wise — mandatory in the case of plants of borderline hardiness. Winter mulch serves being a blanket, protecting the particular plants from freezing winds and frost-heaving, moderating soil temperatures and saving moisture. If you will get consistently deep compacted snow cover, the need for mulch can be less dire, but it's still a good idea to apply one following first hard deep freeze. Also, it is a superb practice to location some evergreen boughs as well as loose hay in excess of low-growing plants, including groundcovers, to protect them from compacted snow damage without obstructing them.

    If your winters tend to be bitter or in case you have shrubs or tulips of doubtful hardiness, there are a number of things that can be done to protect them. Wrap them generally in burlap, form hinged plywood sandwich-board tents in excess of them or make a fence-wire cage around them and stuff it with dried up leaves or hay. If your winter is windy, implement a waxy leaf shell, called an ant desiccant aerosol (available from backyard centers and catalogs), or a burlap screen to be able to evergreens. Ant desiccants possess the added advantage of developing evergreens less appealing to deer.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help




If you winterize your lawn, remember to carry on the composting. The plant material that you just remove from the garden should be integrated into this compost thoroughly. The compost must also be raked and turned regularly in order that you have healthy soil to utilize in the springtime. You can additionally use compost and mulch to winterize your current garden. Create a protective layer across the roots of facilities and in plant beds to insulate origins from harmful ice.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Storing your Garden Tools

  • Clean ones tools, making use of soapy drinking water. To take out stubborn mulch, absorb the device, then scrub using a stiff wash.
  • Rub off of rust with very fine sandpaper or with fine steel made of wool dipped in kerosene.
  • Dry the tools with a absorbent magazine or report towels. Dampness can result in rust and spoil relocating parts.
  • Sharpen lowering edges using a file or even a whetstone. File from your outer edge for the center. Make use of downward cerebrovascular events; hold the file at a viewpoint. If a benefit is hopelessly boring, have that professionally sharp.
  • Wipe metallic surfaces with an oiled cloth (vegetable oil is fine). Or shop metal tool ends in a bucket full of coarse mud soaked throughout motor oil.
  • To retain wooden addresses from becoming dry, apply any light fur of boiled linseed oil and strong.
  • Tighten anchoring screws and apply to a decrease or two of gentle machine oil on relocating parts.
  • Store tools from reach of children in the cool, dried spot. Winter is an excellent time to make an structured pegboard or other storage space system to your tools.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Featured Author
69 Articles Started
2,601 Article Edits
24,290 Points
Daniel is a featured author with VisiHow. Daniel has achieved the level of "Lieutenant" with 24,290 points. Daniel has started 69 articles (including this one) and has also made 2,601 article edits. 17,578 people have read Daniel's article contributions.
Daniel's Message Board
Daniel: Hi, my name is Daniel.
Daniel: Can I help you with your problem about "Winterize your garden"?

Article Info

Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Eng, Lynn

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,441 times.

Do you have a question not answered in this article?
Click here to ask one of the writers of this article

Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No