Soon the nights will start to get much cooler and the leaves will start tumbling off the trees, this is nature’s way of telling us to start getting the garden ready for winter. However, most of us give the lawn a final mow come October and then we leave our gardens to fend for themselves during the bitter months. But preparing your outside space for the colder months ahead will help it looks its best come springtime. We are sharing some of our top tips to help you protect your garden for winter.
1. Pull Up Dying Plants
Remove and pull up any plants that are dying, have had insect infestation or disease. Do not toss infected plants on the compost pile, as you don’t want pests or diseased plants spreading, wintering away and ruining your patch.
2. Prune Your Perennials
Before the frost hits, prune plants, cut back herbaceous perennials and remove any dead branches. Take a pair of sheers or a pruner and spend some time trimming back damaged shrubs and hedging to promote new growth later.
Top Tip: Leave plants that stand up straight such as sunflowers, coneflowers and thistles. They will add interest in the winter, and also provide vital winter food and sanctuary for wildlife.
3. Clean Up & Weeding
Weeds will quite happily grow in cold darker months, so before the weather turns too wet use a preventative weed killer that will keep working throughout winter. Remember to put your weeds in the bin and not on your compost heap as the seeds will grow and will cause you more weed problems later. Also have a general tidy up, remove debris, rake and remove leaves once the trees are bare and whilst it’s still crisp and dry.
4. Protect Your Plants
Start covering tender plants as the frost begins and cover soil around plants with mulch or straw to help moisture and rain penetrate the soil in the winter and to protect them from the frost.
Top Tip: Don’t put down protective mulch too early, as the mice will move in and ruin your plants. Wait for the weather to get colder, just before the frost begins.
5. Tidy Ponds & Water Features
Remove leaves and debris from your pond or water feature to prevent the water getting murky. Try covering with a net to prevent them clogging up with leaves and debris.
6. Prepare The Lawn
Remove moss by raking the lawn, this will allow the lawn to breathe and grow more freely. Use a good quality autumn lawn feed and moss killer to give your lawn a helping hand during the winter.
7. Plant Your Spring Bulbs
Plant your spring bulbs before the winter kicks in such as crocuses, daffodils and tulips. Add a good quality bone meal such as fish, blood and bone to provide slow-release nutrients. Take a look at our garden tools to help.
Top Tip: When planting the general rule of thumb is to plant 2-3 times the dept of the bulb itself and with enough width between bulbs for them to grow.
8. Winter Wildlife
Give birds and other wildlife a helping hand when the temperature drops. Find a good location for your bird feeder or station and keep replenishing the bird food supply so that they have an extra food source when it gets colder. Keep the feeder clean to limit the risk of bacteria and disease.
Top Tip: Take a look at our Helping Garden Birds guide for more ideas to help them survive and thrive.
For more top tips and garden inspiration take a look at the following:
How To: Care For Your Garden Furniture
How To Create A Hanging Basket
How To: Upcycling Ideas For The Garden
How To: Upcycle Old Garden Pots