Gardeners throughout the country lost countless numbers of plants due to frost last winter, so take a moment this weekend to prepare ahead of the cold and ice.
Advice from The Royal Horticultural Society is to prepare for the worst. They have just issued their advice for gardeners and nurserymen ahead of any bad weather.
“Admittedly it is difficult to predict the long term weather forecast but when it comes to gardening there’s no harm in preparing for the worst and now is the time to do it,” said RHS Horticultural Advisor Nicola Bristow.
“A little planning and preparation will help ensure plants survive the deepest snowfall or hardest of frosts.
“Believe it or not cold winters can actually be good for gardens as warm winters may prevent the protective deep dormancy in many trees and shrubs.
“If this happens it increases their susceptibility to later frosts and scorch caused by cold winds.”
The RHS is suggesting five key things to do.
- Put protective wrapping around vulnerable plants. A wide variety of wrapping material can be used such as horticultural fleece or bubble wrap.
- Mulching plants with compost in October or early November is important as this natural covering will help prevent soil compaction and erosion that usually follows heavy rain.
- Containers need to be kept in dry, sheltered areas and if at all possible moved against walls or fences. Grouping them together helps give additional protection.
- Protection from wind is important and now is a good time to plant hedges and trees. However for immediate and additional protection woven hurdles and netting can also be used.
- Use plant-friendly de-icing products on icy paths. The charity warns against the use of salt as this can burn plant leaves.
Nicola adds: “If your favourite plant gets damaged over the winter don’t give up on it too soon,”
“We have found lots of plants in our gardens that looked totally dead in the spring but suddenly burst into leaf and grew happily over the summer. If it is a special plant it is worth waiting that little bit longer to see if new growth appears.”
Make someone a member of the RHS for a Christmas gift
Further hints and advice on how to protect plants and prepare for Winter are available to gardeners of all abilities when they join the RHS.
The charity’s Advisory Service responds to over 70,000 member enquiries every year.
Gift memberships are available for those looking for that special Christmas gift for their gardening friends and family.