Winter Garden Dont’s

Winter Garden Do’s and Dont’s

Winter Garden Dont's-a-bird-eating-berries
Bird eating berries

Protecting your landscapes and ensuring that your garden plants survive the harsh winter months is a great way to ensure the survival of your garden once the cold season passes. Many homeowners have made the mistake of not taking these steps which has caused them big time.

During the spring and summer months, you have invested so much time and money to bring your garden to what it is so why let those chilly winter months rob you of what you achieved in your garden. Below are some do’s and dont’s that will make a big difference in your garden once the spring and summer months return.

12 Winter garden do’s and dont’s


1. The use of mulches in the garden during the winter months is crucial when it comes to the survival of garden plants, adding a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of plants will act as an insulator protecting the roots from the cold as the ground freezes. In addition, mulches will help to prevent frost heave from around the root system of newly installed plants so become friends will this natural organic (mulches) that has so many benefits.


2. Avoid the use of fertilizers during the cold months, the addition of fertilizers at this time will encourage new growth which will be winter-killed. Wait until the warmer season arrives (spring)  to fertilize garden plants.

Irrigation system

3. Installing an irrigation system can be pretty costly so do what you can to protect it, following the manufacturer’s direction for winterizing and purging your sprinkler system.

Planting too late

4. Planting too late in the season or during the cold months can cause loss of plants especially in areas where the ground freezes. Perennials are very susceptible to late planting. The freezing and thawing of the soil will shove plants out of the soil, when this happens the crowns are exposed. Trees and shrubs should be planted or installed at a later date, for a better chance of survival install plants before the soil freezes.

Planting the wrong varieties

5. Planting the wrong varieties will and can be winter-killed, the addition of cold-tolerant plants will keep your garden looking great all winter long.

 Bring house plants indoors

Winter Garden Dont's-camellia
Camellia flowering plant

6. Outdoor plants that are in containers along with hanging baskets should be brought indoors, before bringing plants inside however spray or treat with insecticidal soap. Give plants a good soaking or water thoroughly as well, once plants are brought indoors place near a south or west-facing window to receive indirect bright sunlight.

Five hours of sunlight is ideal, plants should also be kept from heating vents and drafts, because of the winter months garden plants require less water so check the soil for moisture level and water as needed. Container-grown plants can also be placed in a storage area or garage.

Cold frame gardens

7. The use of cold frame gardens is so popular, these gardens will have you growing plants all winter, cold frame gardens can also help with getting a jump on the season. These gardens can be built (homemade) or purchased from your garden center or plant nursery and come in many sizes and styles.

Wrapping trees and shrubs

8. The wrapping of trees and shrubs in burlap is a sure way to protect them from the extreme cold, this move can also protect trees and shrubs in coastal areas from the salt spray. The base of the tree and shrub should be wrapped also to protect against rodents and deers from chewing into the trunk.

Think wildlife

9. The winter months can be pretty harsh especially for wildlife where food is involved, plant species that are manageable can be left in place for birds as a food source (seeds). However flowering plants that are known to be invasive should be deadheaded.

Remove fallen leaves

10. Remove heavy leaf fall from lawn area because lawns that are heavily covered with leaves will not only encourage fungal growth but will smother as well.

Avoid pruning

11. Pruning shrubs and other plants too late in the season will encourage plants to produce new growth, because of the cold weather this new growth will be winter-killed. Discontinue pruning until spring for plants to harden off before the colder months arrive, have all your pruning done at least by late August.

Discontinue spraying weeds

12. Spraying weeds during the early fall months when weeds are still actively growing, once the colder months set in weeds basically go dormant.

The final word on winter garden dont’s

Taking these extra steps during the winter months will ensure your garden is safe all winter long so when the warmer seasons set in your garden will awaken from its long sleep as your landscape once again bursts will shades of green and rainbow colors as you welcome the spring and summer months.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “Winter Garden Dont’s”

  1. Finally an article that saves my garden! How difficult it is to mantain the garden during winter. I am applying your tips right now, and will have it handy during the whole year as well! This is my favorite part “Discontinue pruning until spring for plants to harden off before the colder months arrive”. It never came to my mind!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, these winter garden tips are really amazing and will give good results. All the best to you. Wishing you good success with your winter garden project.

  2. Interesting article, and I must admit that I have never had to go to such extremes like wrapping your trees and shrubs in winter or bringing plants indoors. It all sounds like a lot of hard work.

    Luckily we live in a temperate country that never gets to cold, however I am definitely going to try the mulch and fertilizer idea in winter to make the soil even better for the summer months.

  3. Protecting plants in the garden, how little I knew, this article opened my eyes.
    Getting over the cold season is not easy.
    These steps and tips are essential, now I realize.
    Spring and summer are so useful to invest, to bring the garden to the level we want.
    We must be careful that the winter does not waste what we have invested.
    With great attention in spring and summer, they will bring a plus in our household.


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