Protect your garden from the harsh winter. ATTRIBUTION: anne arnould (Flickr)

Protect your garden from the harsh winter. ATTRIBUTION: anne arnould (Flickr)

You’ve checked the weather report, and a snowstorm is on its way. How do you go about protecting your young and delicate plants? There are numerous simple, seasonal cover-ups, sprays, and other tools and techniques that can be used to keep your plants in good health throughout the winter season. Here’s a look at how to protect your garden from winter storm damage.

Spread a Layer of Mulch

Mulch is a common form of protection during the winter for many tender perennials and shallow-rooted plants. To protect the roots from cold weather, spread a three-inch layer of organic mulch over the root area. Be sure to keep the mulch at least two to three inches from the plants’ foliage.

Apply a Fabric Covering

Consider placing a fabric covering over the plants to protect them from frost and freezing winds. Avoid plastic and vinyl coverings, as these materials do not breathe well and can cause moisture to become trapped inside. Opt for natural materials, such as linen, cotton, burlap, or newspapers to better protect winter plants.

Set Out Warm Water Jugs

Give your garden some warmth on those bitter cold days. One easy way to do this is with several plastic milk jugs. At the end of the day, fill several milk jugs with warm water and place them around your plants. Place a cover over the plants and plastic jugs to help keep the heat from escaping. The warmth of the water will help warm the plants.

Build a Frame Around Plants

Protective covers do not work as well for larger plants. To protect your bigger plants, shrubs, and vines, create a sturdy frame covered in strong fabric to help protect the plant from harsh winds. Tie durable fabric with twine to four garden stakes placed around the perimeter of the plant.

Cover Plants with a Cloche

Similar to a protective sheet cover, a cloche is placed over delicate plants to protect them from the elements. Carefully tuck the plant under a bell-shaped glass cloche. Gather leaves, mulch, or pine boughs and place them around the outside of the cloche to help give the plant extra warmth on sunny days.

Anchor Newly Planted Trees

If you have newly planted trees in your garden, you will want to secure them before a winter storm hits. Pound several stakes around the plant and attach the stakes to the tree with heavy twine. Give the twine a little slack to allow the trunk to slightly bend in any direction in the wind.

Spray Plants to Minimize Damage

There are numerous products on the market designed to protect plants from winter weather. Some of these products include anti-desiccant and anti-transpirant sprays, which work by coating the leaves and blocking the pores of plants, which slows down moisture loss. While these products are not always effective, they can make some difference.

Prune Before the Winter Season

Preparing your garden before winter hits can help protect your plants from cold temperatures, snow, and wind. Before snowfall, prune all plants to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased stems. If you are unsure if a branch is dead or not, scratch the bark with your fingernail. Living branches are green beneath the bark.