Don’t neglect your garden during winter! Taking care of the plants even during the cold season ensures a beautiful flowering in spring and a harvest of many fruits. Discover the essential gestures to take care of your garden in spite of the frost.
In winter, we tend to neglect our garden, which is gradually being stripped down. It is however a serious mistake! Left in the cold and frost, your corner of greenery could be irreparably damaged.
Winter is, on the contrary, the ideal time to plant certain plants, prune certain species so that they grow back better in spring, and enrich the soil. It is also important not to forget to protect the most fragile plants. Check our advices to take care of your garden during winter, in our practical guide.
Protect plants against frost:
“Protecting your plants is an imperative in winter, especially in regions that do not benefit from a mild climate,” insists Clément Gasnier, sales advisor at the Flower Market of the Botanic store in Suresnes. The species most sensitive to the cold are those that prefer the Mediterranean climate, such as the olive tree, or the phormium, oleander, etc..
Clément Gasnier advises not to wait for the first frosts before taking action: as soon as the ambient temperature drops below 10°C, one can start protecting fragile species.
Several strategies exist: protection of the upper parts of the plant, using a wintering veil, or even bubble wrap, advises the Truffaut garden center; protection of the root system, by mulching, “an ideal technique for palm trees, whose trunks must not freeze,” says Clément Gasnier; finally, certain potted species deserve to be put in greenhouses or even placed indoors, such as dipladenia.
Enriching the land for spring:
During the winter, the earth does not have the opportunity to recharge its batteries. We can give it a boost by providing it with sources of organic matter: homemade compost, vermicompost, manure, mulch, topsoil, etc.
“During the winter, the work of the helpers, such as worms, will allow this new amendment to be incorporated into the soil,” explains Clément Gasnier of the Botanic gardening store. You will thus obtain, in the spring, a rich substrate that will allow your plants to grow without any problem.
Planting certain plants:
Winter, a dead period for planting plants? “Generally speaking, you can’t plant anything anymore, especially when the ground freezes, because the roots don’t set and the plant risks to decline” explains Clément Gasnier, from the Botanic store.
However, the beginning of the cold season remains the ideal time to plant certain species, which will take advantage of the winter’s vegetative rest to spread their roots: apple trees, pear trees, raspberries, roses, rhododendrons, trees and shrubs in general, especially conifers, or even some spring flowering bulbs.
Preparing spring seedlings:
The months of January and February are the ideal times to start thinking about the spring vegetable garden! “We do indoor sowings of annual plants, such as tomatoes and vegetables from the vegetable garden,” explains Clément Gasnier, sales advisor at the Flower Market at the Botanic store in Suresnes. This allows the seeds to start growing, and gives a plant that is vigorous enough to be planted in the ground in the first days of spring.
Prune some plants:
Before winter spreads its icy mantle, there is still time to prepare your plants to face the cold period. This is the time to prune plants that need it, such as pome fruit trees, “always cutting above an outward facing bud,” says the Truffaut garden center.
Pruning a plant is not insignificant: some species prefer to be pruned before winter, like apple trees, others just after frost, like plum trees. Ask a specialist who will advise you according to the species present in your garden.
“Pruning will condition the shape of the plant, but it can also influence next year’s harvest for certain species,” explains Clément Gasnier, sales advisor at the Flower Market of the Botanic store in Suresnes. Pruning hedges before frost also helps limit plant growth.
Mowing the lawn:
If you haven’t sown your lawn in October or November, it’s no longer time to do it in the winter, “because the root system won’t be able to settle in,” says Clément Gasnier of the Botanic Garden Centre.
On the other hand, you can mow your lawn “one last time before letting it ‘rest’,” says the Truffaut store, depending on the aesthetic features you want to give your garden.
Pick up the leaves:
Leaves that continue to fall in late fall and early winter can be an excellent source of organic matter for your garden. It is therefore not necessary to collect them, except for aesthetic reasons, or to add them to your homemade compost.
“On the other hand, be careful not to leave the leaves of certain trees, which can be toxic for the surrounding species, such as walnut leaves,” insists Clément Gasnier, from the Botanic store.
Feeding the birds:
Winter is also a tough time for the garden companions! Birds will appreciate being brought out of the winter famine thanks to food dispensers and other feeders. Place seeds, peanuts or special food in them and set them in your trees.