When it is cold outside, working in the garden is probably the last thing on your mind. However, during the cooler months there are still a variety of garden care tasks which can be attended to. Maintaining and nurturing your garden throughout winter will give it a head start for spring, and you will be glad you invested the time. Here are a few key things you should be doing in the garden when the temperature drops:
Feeding and Watering
Depending on your climate, in winter it is generally a good idea to reduce the frequency of watering. This applies to both indoor and outdoor plants, as plants can either be dormant or grow more slowly during this period, requiring less water. Feed both plants and vegetables, noting liquid fertilisers are recommended over slow release versions because the lower temperatures can cause the latter to take a long time to break down. There is no need to fertilise your lawn as it will not absorb the nutrients and it will be a wasted exercise, instead wait until the beginning of spring. Mulching your garden will help to retain the heat in winter and protect against weeds.
Winter is the safest time to move and replant a variety of different species. This includes roses and fruit trees who are dormant, as this will give them the best chance of survival. Take the time to tidy up the yard and remove any leaves which have fallen. Leaves can be used as compost and branches can be neatened with any excess being turned into mulch. You can revamp your outdoor environment by installing new structures and ornaments while cleaning any existing ones. If you are feeling motivated, clean out your garden shed, sharpen and repair any tools. If you have artificial lawn, a quick wash is all it needs to remove any dirt and mud.
The best time to prune is after the frost has passed, and this timeframe will vary depending on where you live. Pruning helps to stimulate growth and can improve the future flowering and fruiting capabilities. Always use sharp tools, and you can generally remove at least a third of the plant’s growth without any negative consequences. Different methods of pruning can leave you with interesting shapes, or can assist with creating privacy screens. Cut back any old foliage on your herbaceous perennials, without removing any new growth.
During winter, extra care needs to be taken especially for those varieties which don’t cope well with the frosty conditions. Outdoor pots can be moved under cover at night and placed in the sunshine during the day. Delicate plants can be kept safe by placing them under plastic at night and let to air in the daylight. Indoor plants can be sensitive to artificial heating, so try to avoid placing them too close to the outlet.
Weed and Pest Control
Weeding is something you need to keep on top of all year round. If your lawn begins to show signs of weeds it can be a difficult task trying to keep them under control. Bindi killer in the winter months is one strategy which should help. Exposed branches can be coated with a plant based oil spray to protect against a variety of pests. If you are not careful, snails will eat your produce, but snail pellets are a common solution to this problem. Keep your compost bins covered and your gardens tidy to reduce the occurrence of rodents. Birds are natural predators for a range of different pests, so encourage them to visit your garden.
What to Plant in Winter
If you are in the mood for planting, there is a long list of options which are suitable for this time of year. Once again this will depend on the soil conditions and climate in your backyard but may include roses, numerous bulb varieties, shrubs, deciduous trees with bare roots, strawberries, potatoes and coriander.
If you are not a natural green thumb and require landscape and garden design assistance, at Allscapes WA we can service the Perth region. Contact us today for an outdoor makeover, and to create a space you will want to maintain regardless of the season.