When cold weather arrives, we automatically take measures to keep ourselves safe and warm. We wear extra layers of clothing, put on the heating or light a fire, de-ice the car and if it gets really cold, stay inside as much as possible. We should have the same care for frost in our gardens.
The living plant life in our garden can be just as vulnerable as we are. Each has its own degree of hardiness, the extent it will tolerate very cold weather without damage. Extremely hardy plants will endure temperatures well below freezing. However, if you have tender plants they will need to be protected during periods of frost to avoid serious damage.
Before the first sign of frost in the garden (which is often in late autumn) tender plants should either be cut back, lifted and stored indoors or left outside under a layer of mulch. If you wait until frost arrives to do this, it will likely be too late. Plants to lift and store are those tender herbaceous perennials that are able to survive winter in a dormant state, such as dahlias, cannas and gladioli.
Winter Wrapping your Garden to Help in the Frost
Some tender plants are not suitable for lifting and storing. This includes tender climbers, some shrubs like Pittosporum tobira, fruit bushes and tree ferns. For these larger species, wrapping in specifically designed horticultural fleece will help protect from damage. The advantage of this material is that it allows the plant to breath. At the same time it offers protection, whereas more solid material such as polythene can gather condensation underneath and compound the problem. The heavy duty fleece material is also easy to fit and secure. Once the season is over it can be washed and reused.
Keeping Your Greenhouse Warm
Just moving your tender plants into your greenhouse is unlikely to give them the protection they need in event of severe cold. By heating your greenhouse, you can help keep them in peak condition through winter, but this can be a costly option. One cost effective form of greenhouse heating is specially designed bubble insulation. Reduce the risk of frost damage to your plants by clipping a layer to the inside of your greenhouse frame, this will also cut your greenhouse heating bills.
It is also worth having a good heating system in place in your greenhouse. An electric heater will help move air around your greenhouse, avoiding the existence of cold spots.
Garden Protection from Frost
There are other areas of your garden as well as plants that need some care during the cold winter months. To prevent garden taps freezing over, we recommend insulated tap protectors. Finally ensure to keep your paths and driveway safe by having some de icing salt stored away ready to sprinkle over any persistent icy patches.