As the cool weather approaches, it is time to make the final preparations for winter. This year saw gardens enjoy bountiful harvests and impressive blooms. Taking the time to properly protect your efforts of the past season can go a long way to ensure another tremendous growing season next year.
Tidy your garden
You have carefully tended your garden all spring and summer, now is the time to clean up for fall.
- Remove all annuals and any debris and rake leaves that may encourage pests or damage to plant roots.
- Some perennials are best cut back in the fall to avoid disease, especially bee balm, phlox, and hosta. However, many perennials can be left to cut back in the spring, especially those with bountiful seedheads such as coneflowers or rudbeckia, as the birds will enjoy their seeds through winter.
- Cover ponds to protect them from falling leaves.
- Clean birdhouses and feeders so they can provide a safe and clean environment for animals throughout the winter.
- Bring in seeds and herbs for drying and use for next year.
- Remove the last of your vegetables and fallen fruit. This will prevent pests from causing damage to your garden over the winter.
- Give your lawn a final shorter than usual cut and ensure it isn’t spilling into your garden where it could create spaces for pests to hide or nest.
- Dig up summer bulbs and tubers for replanting in the spring. This includes varieties such as Canna, Dahlia, and Gladiolus. Store them in a cool, dry place as heat will lead to early spouting and moisture will lead to rotting. Store bulbs over winter in paper bags, or boxes with holes for circulation. They can be covered with peat moss, vermiculite or saw dust to keep them dry. Air circulation is key to prevent rotting.
- Protect concrete décor pieces such as statues and birdbaths. Speak to a team member at your local Sheridan Nurseries for what is best for your unique pieces.
Fall is for planting
- Get a head start for next spring! Fall is the perfect time to get outside and plant new trees, shrubs and perennials. Warm soil and cool air stimulate root growth that helps establish the plant before the ground freezes. Look at your fully grown garden for any gaps to fill in.
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs.
- Consider dividing spring-blooming perennials if you have overgrown areas or an area that is starting to look cramped.
- Be sure to water well right up to the first frost.
Garden and lawn preparation
- Apply compost in late autumn to allow the soil to soak up the nutrients before the winter freeze. Composted Manure and Sea Compost are great for topdressing.
- Add a couple of inches of compost or manure on top of your garden beds any time before the ground freezes.
- Water remaining trees, shrubs and plants up until the ground freezes.
- Add fertilizer to your lawn to strengthen roots, blades and build up disease resistance.
- Mulch shrubs and bushes.
- Stake trees to avoid heaving from the freezing ground through fall winter and spring.
Garden tool maintenance
- Clean all garden tools and do any required maintenance. Don’t put your tools away dirty, which can cause rust or damage.
- Sharpen lawnmower and pruning blades.
- Remove debris from the eavestroughs and gutters. This will prevent a build-up of water during the winter as well as damage to your home.
- Add a gas preservative or empty the gas tank on your lawnmower and gas trimmer.
- Drain and disconnect garden hoses.
- Turn off outdoor water lines to prevent pipes from cracking during the cold winter months.
- Empty clay, ceramic, fibreglass and summer plastic pots. Store them safely inside. If they are left outside through the freeze-thaw cycles, there is a good chance they will crack.
Protect plants and trees
- One of the easiest ways to protect your shrubs and plants from winter is to wrap them. Using screening or burlap, wrap evergreens exposed to harsh winds, salt spray, and heavy snow loads. Your garden centre advisor will be able to provide you with tips on the right coverings for your plants.
- Hill up your roses
- Wrap your fruit trees with a tree guard spiral to protect them from rabbits, mice and squirrels
- Bring indoors potted plants that are not winter hardy, such as ferns, herbs, cactus, or tropicals.
The garden experts at Sheridan Nurseries can help ensure your garden is ready for winter. Following this simple guide will help protect your garden over the winter months. Properly maintaining your garden and tools will leave you fully prepared to get back outside again in the spring.