Preparing For A Freeze
By: Rachel Elmakiss
It’s starting to get chilly around here, even for Arkansas! Pretty soon we’ll be cozying up by the fire while the temperatures drop into the 30’s and we’ll be looking out for ice and snow. While we hopefully shouldn’t have to worry too much after last year’s snow storm, we at Cantrell Gardens know that all our favorite gardeners are anxious to not lose anymore plants this year. We’re here to help you get your gardens ready for winter weather, and prepare you for the worst should we have any big freezes!
Freeze Preparation Tips
- Get Rid of Any Dead Plant Debris
- Winter is the perfect time to dig up any dead plants and throw them away, trim back any dead foliage, and pull up any left-over summer annuals still lingering around. Keep in mind that you don’t want to compost any dead plants or place them anywhere else in your yard, take them straight to the dumpster; keeping dead plants around or composting them could spread disease. Only trim any dead or diseased bits, save pruning and cutting plants back for the end of winter, around February.
- If you had any pesky weeds pop up during the growing season, but didn’t have time to pull them, now is a great time to get them out of your garden! Again, it’s important to not compost your weeds or keep them around anywhere, this can make it really easy for them to grow back. Look into hand tools like garden hoes or hand-rakes to help make the task of weeding less stressful.
- You can go ahead and amend your garden beds for the spring! Adding in compost or manure at the beginning of winter can give nutrients time to start breaking down and become active. This will time out perfectly for the Spring, giving you already nutrient-rich soil to start planting in right away. You can add mulch on top of the soil, if you’re not adding any plants, to keep the soil from washing away. While you’re at it, now is also a great time to refresh the rest of your mulch around the yard!
- You can still plant this time of year! As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can still plant pansies and other winter annuals around your garden beds and get your perennials, shrubs, and trees established for the year! This way they can really start pushing out that growth in Spring and you don’t have to worry about establishing them in the Summer.
- Keep an eye out for freezes this winter! One night here or there of below 30 shouldn’t be too bad, but what we really wanna keep an eye out for are the longer periods of freeze. The end of December and the Beginning of January so far are looking potentially very cold. To be ready to help your plants, gather old bed sheets or come get some insulation blankets and have them ready to cover your plants if needed. Know which plants can handle freezing temperatures, and which will need to be covered. Take note of which plants are in pots and can be brought inside as needed, and keep in mind that terracotta pots or other porous pots can be prone to a crack during a freeze.
Hopefully this helps you keep from losing any plants this Winter, and as always we at Cantrell Gardens are here to answer your questions and help guide you in your gardening journey. Give us a call at (501)-225-1030 or come on into the store and say hello in person! Remember to check back next month for more helpful tips and tricks!