How do you winterize plants in the ground?

Author: Nathanial Kutch  |  Last update: Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Start the winterizing process by mulching around landscape plants. Mulch helps insulate soil and prevent frost heave, a condition that occurs when soil repeatedly freezes and thaws—and pushes plants out of soil. When frost heave occurs, plant crowns and roots are exposed to freezing air and drying winds.

What material do you winterize plants with?

Once the first hard freeze has occurred, apply 2 to 4 inches of straw, pine needles, hay, compost, leaves, bark chips or other organic mulch evenly around the plants.

How do you winterize outdoor perennials?

How to Winterize Perennials in 5 Simple Steps
  1. Take Stock. Andrew Drake. ...
  2. Remove Weeds. As your perennials begin slowing down, some weeds that prefer cooler weather start flourishing, and many weeds can overwinter. ...
  3. Water Well. ...
  4. Clean Up Diseased or Damaged Foliage. ...
  5. Mulch Perennials Selectively.

When should I winterize my plants?

When To Winterize Your Gardens. The best time to start winterizing gardens is after the first hard freeze in the fall. A hard freeze occurs when the temperature gets below freezing overnight, killing off tender annual plants and vegetables.

Do all plants need to be cut back for winter?

A good rule of thumb is that if the plant blooms on new growth, it can be pruned in winter, before the new season's growth begins and after the final bloom of the year. Be careful with spring-blooming shrubs—those usually can't be pruned in winter without damaging the flower buds and ruining the blooming season.

3 Thrifty Ways To Keep Plants Cozy This Winter! 🥶

Do you cut all plants down before winter?

It's important to cut back foliage in the fall to protect flowering plants from disease and give them a clean start for regrowth as winter starts to turn into spring. However, there are some plants you can keep around through the winter since they benefit wildlife and still offer visual interest for your home.

When should perennials be cut back for winter?

Some perennials, like hostas, peonies and daylilies, need to be pruned in fall to avoid winter damage. Plants like these should be pruned after the first few frosts in late fall or early winter. Other perennials like mums and coneflowers are better off being pruned in spring just before new growth comes in.

What do you cover perennials with in the winter?

Plants and perennials that require additional protection to survive your winter will need a deep layer of mulch added by mid November or later, when the ground is beginning to freeze. Do NOT add deep mulch too early or your plants will not be slowly exposed to colder temperatures, allowing them to acclimate for winter.

What perennials need to be covered for frost?

Perennial Flowers: Most perennial plants do not suffer frost damage and do not need to be covered. Frost sensitive perennials include Hostas and Bleeding Hearts. They should be covered to protect their foliage and flowers. Cover any blooming or budded up perennials.

Is cloth or plastic better to cover plants from frost?

A fabric covering is best because it will allow moisture to escape while still protecting your plants from frost. Fabric coverings will prevent the freezing air from coming into direct contact with the moisture on the plant while also capturing the heat that is radiating from the ground.

Will covering plants with a sheet keep them from freezing?

The easiest way to protect from a freeze is simply by covering plants with a sheet or a blanket. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant. The added warmth may be enough to keep a plant from freezing during a short cold snap.

How do you wrap plants for winter?

Burlap is more effective than plastic because it allows the plant to breathe so air circulates and heat isn't trapped. Burlap for protecting plants can be as simple as an old burlap bag. If you don't have access to burlap bags, you can purchase sheet burlap by the yard at most fabric stores.

What do you cover plants with for freezing?

For the best chance at success for keeping your garden alive through the winter, choose hardy native plants that are used to your area's climate. When the weather forecaster warns of an overnight freeze, cover your plants with burlap, an old sheet or blanket, or clear plastic.

What is the cheapest way to cover plants from frost?

Cover Plants – Protect plants from all but the hardest freeze (28°F for five hours) by covering them with sheets, towels, blankets, cardboard or a tarp. You can also invert baskets, coolers or any container with a solid bottom over plants. Cover plants before dark to trap warmer air.

At what temperature should I cover my plants?

Know Your Plants' Cold Tolerance

Some frost-tender plants need to be covered as soon as the temperature hits 32°F, while others can handle lower temperatures and/or longer freezing periods. You'll need to look up each of your plants to verify its cold tolerance.

What perennials should not be cut back in the winter?

Perennials NOT to Cut Back

Also, do not cut back hardy perennials like garden mums (Chrysanthemum spp.), anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), red-hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria), and Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum). Leave the foliage. It's important to protect the root crowns over winter.

How do you keep perennials alive in the winter?

Overwintering Techniques

The general consensus seems to be that the best way to overwinter containerized perennials is to take the entire pot and bury it in the ground. This way, the roots are protected like they would be if the plants were actually planted in the garden.

What temperature should perennials be covered at?

Once temperatures drop below 40°F, you may want to start covering your plants with a frost blanket depending on what you're growing, which we'll get into in just a bit. Freeze – A freeze is when the air temperature is 32°F or below.

Do you have to cut down perennials before winter?

It's common to think that everything should be chopped down to the ground in the fall, but some perennials actually need their foliage to protect new shoots through the winter. Other varieties offer up important habitat for local wildlife and some perennials provide height and interest through the winter months.

Is it bad to cut back perennials too early?

Many gardeners cut back their perennials much too soon. There are nuances specific to certain perennials that dictate whether it is better to cut them back in fall or spring, but the general rule I like to follow is to only cut back perennials that start looking bad in fall.

Should hostas be cut back for winter?

But when should hostas be cut back? Hostas should be cut back in late fall. Healthy hosta leaves can be left on the plant in early fall to capture much-needed energy, but all leaves should be trimmed off after the first frost to deter slugs and other pests from making your hosta their winter home.

Is it better to cut back plants in fall or spring?

To prevent the disease from returning the following year, we suggest cutting the plants back in the fall and removing any debris – no matter the variety! It will give your plants a clean start next season. *Destroy any foliage with symptoms of powdery mildew and disinfect pruners before trimming other plants.

How far back do you cut plants for winter?

Cut the plants down to within three to five inches of the soil line. Leaving the plant slightly above the ground has several advantages. First, the remaining foliage helps provide a bit of insulation for the plant through winter.

Should hostas be cut back in the fall?

When to Cut Back Hostas. As a general rule, hostas should be cut back in the late fall. Start with leaves that have wilted or turned brown. Healthy leaves can stay a bit longer to help the roots store needed energy.

Previous article
Can I leave plants outside in winter?
Next article
Why can you touch a halogen bulb with your fingers?