Putting Your Beds To Bed For The Winter

by HGExpo.com on 11/24/2014 - 10:14 am

By Jeremy Smith

Smith Brothers Mulch

The winter world above the ground may appear cold, drab, and lifeless. That’s why it’s hard to imagine that earthworms and microbes continue to actively work throughout the winter beneath the ground to prepare your soil for next year’s sensational flowers and plants. By properly preparing your plant beds before the frosty air freezes the ground’s surface, you also can give yourself a head start on next year’s spring gardening.

Here are a few tips to help you to prepare your plant beds for winter.

  1. Clear out dead material. When your annual plants die, they leave behind stems and foliage that can harbor diseases and insect eggs. Clear those materials out now—you’re going to have to do it before you prepare next spring’s beds anyway. By starting with clean beds in the spring, you can get straight to the fun part of gardening when the weather breaks.
  2. Be gentle. As you clear out dead stems, fallen leaves, and other unwanted materials from your plant beds, be careful not to damage delicate perennials that you want to enjoy next year. Blowing debris from your beds with a forceful gasoline powered or electric leaf blower can stress or damage cherished plants if you’re not careful. Wide rakes also can catch and break plants—and possibly sprinkler heads. Consider using a rake with a narrow—or adjustable—width to remove debris without damaging plants.
  3. After the beds are cleared, till them gently to uncover any unwanted insects that planned to move in for the winter.
  4. Plants or bulbs that may not be hardy enough to survive the winter should be carefully dug up and transplanted to a planter in an indoor location. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help you to determine which of your plants may not be strong enough to survive frigid weather.
  5. Spread a thick winter layer of organic mulch around your beds to protect plants and soil. The mulch you spread during the previous spring may be decomposed by now. A new layer of mulch will help to protect the soil surface from temperature swings during the winter. It also will discourage the growth of unwanted weeds when the ground warms up in the spring.
  6. Take the opportunity to test your soil and add amendments as necessary. Soil testing kits can be purchased at your local garden center or hardware store.

It’s always more fun to plan and create your landscape, gardens, and plant beds than it is to but them to sleep for the winter. But, as with most things in life, advance preparation usually results in noticeable benefits down the road. When springtime comes, you’ll be happy that you took the time to winterize your beds. So will your plants.

Smith Brothers Inc.offers mulch and landscaping services at four locations:

  • 3087 Marks Road, in Medina. Call 330-723-5556 or 800-729-5751
  • 7170 Wooster Pike Road, in Medina. Call 330-723-5556 or 800-729-5751
  • 1285 N Cleveland Massillon Road, in Akron. Call 330-665-3448
  • 7388 Township Road 323, in Holmesville. Call 330-279-2215 or 800-729-5751