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4 Ways to Care for Your Outdoor Plants in the Cold, Winter Months


December 18, 2015

As the cold weather settles in for a few more months, it’s hard to imagine how your outdoor plants can survive in such inhospitable conditions. But don’t worry: you don’t have to call on a Denver landscaping service to care for your outdoor plants in the winter. The following are some simple tips you can do now to protect your plants from the cold and get your garden through the rest of the winter season:
  1. Apply mulch – Applying 2 to 3 inches of mulch around your outdoor plants acts as an insulator from the cold, protects your plants’ root systems, and holds in moisture so that your plants can better draw in the water they need during the winter. However, mulch works both ways. While it’s beneficial to plants in the cold weather, it may prevent the soil around your plants from warming up in the spring. So you may want to remove the mulch later, toward the end of winter.
  2. Cover your plants – Most people know the old trick about covering your outdoor plants to prevent them from freezing. And fortunately, this is not a myth. You can cover outdoor plants on very cold nights with blankets, drop cloths, or tarps. You may need to use some stakes to prop up the covering so that it doesn’t touch the leaves or branches. Keep in mind that this method is really about protecting from frost, as a covering won’t do much to increase the temperature and actually heat your plants. And make sure to remove the covering during the day so the plants get enough air and sunlight.
  3. Water your plants – It may seem counterintuitive, but watering your plants can be another way to protect against frost. The reason is that wet soil traps heat better than dry soil, and as it evaporates it helps to warm the plants. However, if the forecast calls for a hard freeze, watering can backfire and make it difficult on your plants. And if you have outdoor succulents, avoid this method altogether as they’re not able to tolerate the moisture levels.
  4. Bring potted plants inside – Bring your potted plants and hanging planters indoors out of the cold. Place them near windows per their sun requirements so they can get the warmth and the sunlight they need. But if it’s extremely cold outside, be careful not to place your plants too close to the windows as freezing temperatures outside can transfer to your plants via the windows if they are touching. Also avoid placing your plants near any vents as the heat blowing out can dry out the plants.
If you have a bit more time and resources on your hands, you can try building a makeshift greenhouse for your plants and place a heat source inside, such as a 100-w light bulb or even Christmas lights.

If you’re considering new plantings come spring, contact the Denver plantings experts at My Landscaper. We’ll help select the right flowers, trees, and shrubs for your yard, provide routine care, and even install a custom sprinkler system. Call us at 720-882-5772