How to Protect Your Landscaping from Winter Weather
Here are some of the things that must be done so that next spring, your perennials and lawn emerge from under the snow in good shape and ready for a new season of growth.
Annuals and flower bulbs need special care
At the beginning of summer, you probably planted some tropical plants called annuals in your flower beds. As they are not able to survive the rigours of winter, we must, unfortunately, remove them. At best, they could be used as ground cover to protect your perennials. On the other hand, some bulb plants can be saved (for example, cannas, begonias and dahlias). As soon as the flowering is finished, gently dig out the bulbs (or rhizomes) and then clean and dry them thoroughly.
Afterwards, examine them and choose the healthiest. You can then carefully identify and store them in wooden crates. These crates must be stored in a dry location, such as a cellar or attic, where they will wait for the warm weather before being returned to your flower beds.
Perennials, roses, rhododendrons and other plants: all need protection...
Contrary to popular belief, the number one enemy of flower beds is not snow. What causes the greatest damage is the ice that forms on the plants and the blowing winter wind. You must therefore protect, and in some cases, shelter, the areas in your flower beds that are the most exposed to these harmful effects.
Although it is not absolutely necessary, it is generally advisable that the perennials that are exposed to the wind be covered and that roses be protected from frost before the snow arrives, by using a thick layer of dead leaves held in place with coniferous branches or a tarp. As for the other perennials protected by a fence or low wall, the snow will protect them. Verify that they are well covered over the winter.
Appropriate care is required for the more fragile rose bushes, rhododendrons and shrubs.
- Climbing and long-stem roses
These roses should not be pruned, but rather attached to a stake, fence or trellis. This will prevent them from being damaged or broken by the winter weather.
- Rhododendrons and fragile shrubs
These plants must be given special protection. A good size cover of mulch or conifer branches will protect them from the cold. It is also strongly recommended to wrap burlap around these shrubs and attach it to stakes. However, this barrier should not touch or cover them. This is particularly advisable in the case of evergreen rhododendrons that could be damaged by the harsh winter wind.
To prevent your lawn from suffering from a springtime case of “jaundice”, it’s better to rake it well to prevent dead leaves from accumulating. This chore is necessary, since even though dead leaves are useful for covering flower beds, their presence on the lawn can cause grass roots to rot.
After the last raking, mow the lawn one last time for a beautiful lawn in the springtime. It is recommended that the cutting height be set to approximately 50 mm (2 in). And while you’re at it, why not get ahead in your spring landscaping work? After the last mowing, spread some grass seed and compost on the bald spots. In addition, a judicious application of lime (every three or four years) will reduce the acidity of your lawn’s soil.
Don’t forget your gardening tools and furniture
Before storing the mower in a dry location, it is recommended that you clean it thoroughly and follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations. As for the other gardening tools, wash them thoroughly with soap and water, dry them and apply a thin layer of motor oil to their blades.
Finally, if you do not store your garden furniture in a shed or garage, it should be carefully collected together and covered with a tarp or canvas and securely tied. Your BBQ should also be well protected with a cover after you have done the final cleaning.