How to Guard Against Winter Damage to Plants in NJ

The weather can be harsh in New Jersey in the winter. Unfortunately, the bitter cold and snow can wreak havoc on your garden and those landscape elements you worked so hard to preserve during the warmer months. If you want your plants to survive the winter and thrive when the spring returns, you need to take some preemptive measures before the weather takes a turn for the worse. Learn how to guard against winter damage to plants in NJ by taking a few basic precautions before the chill sets in. This includes winter plant covers.

winter plant coversWinter Plant Covers

Covering the plants that remain outside during the winter is the most basic way you can ensure they have winter protection. It is not necessary to purchase a giant tarp that will cover your entire garden. You can just as easily cover your plants with an old blanket or sheet you find hidden in the back of your linen closet. If you don’t want to mess up your old blankets, you can also use a burlap sack as your winter plant covers. Whatever type of cover you choose to use, be sure to cover the flowers loosely and hold the edges down with bricks or large rocks. If you use a heavy-weight cover, be sure to use chicken wire or something similar to keep the weight of the cover off of the plants and flowers.

Water your plants

Take a few minutes to water your plants a few days before the frost arrives. When the soil is wet, it holds in more warmth than when it is dry. Watering the plants will allow them to stay warmer when the frigid weather comes. Avoid giving them too much water, as plants that are saturated can develop frost heave, which is injurious to the plants.

Stop fertilizing

Stop fertilizing your plants about six weeks before the first frost comes. This will allow the plants to harden off and prepare for the winter season.

Mulch your plants

If your plants are tolerant of mulch, adding a generous layer at the beginning of the winter season is a great option for keeping them protected from the elements. For those who choose to mulch, some effective mulching materials include straw, pine needles, bark, and loosely piled leaves. Mulching helps to keep the soil moist and holds in heat during the cooler weather. Ideally, mulch should be kept at a depth of 2-3 inches.

Do not over-prune your shrubs and plants

Avoid the temptation to over-prune your shrubs plants. After the midway point in the summer, pruning stimulates new growth and delays dormancy. The new growth will have a hard time surviving through the winter. Learn to accept a bit of overgrowth in the late summer and fall to ensure your plant protection and that shrubs will come back in the spring.

Cold frames

Some delicate plants need to be kept in a cold frame throughout the winter season. Cold frames can be purchased at any local garden center as well as large big box stores. They can also be handmade using materials such as cinder blocks, bricks, or wood for the sides, and old storm windows for the top.

Raised plant beds

Putting a bit of forethought into your garden can also help protect it from the winter weather. Creating raised plant beds will keep the plants protected from the harsh winter weather elements.

Supply a heat source

The best way to combat cold is with heat. If your outdoor plants are subjected to the cooler weather all winter, supply them with a heat source for their plant protection. If you enclose your plants with a cover or build a cold frame, it is a good idea to place a heating source such as a 100-watt bulb or stringed Christmas lights inside. Do not shine the light directly on the plants, though, so you do not inadvertently burn them.

Choose plants that are suited to your geographic climate

If you want to make sure your plants survive the winter, you can play it safe and only include plants in your landscape that are suitable for the New Jersey climate. If you need advice on determining the best plants to include in your landscape, work with a local landscaper. An expert can help you find the right ones.

Making sure your plants survive the harsh New Jersey winter season does not need to be a daunting task. Taking a few precautions at the outset of winter, before the weather begins to get too chilly, can assist your plants in surviving the winter season and thrive in the spring. If you need assistance preparing your outdoor plants for the upcoming winter, contact us for professional advice. We can assist you in protecting this important investment in the beauty and value of your home.

Thank you for reading our blog. How can we help you? Contact us today for more information on plant protection during the winter season and gardening tips.