‘Use old newspaper’: Protect your plants from frost to avoid ‘havoc’ in the garden

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Repeated freezing and thawing of plants and shrubs can be particularly damaging to the garden. Frost can damage plant tissue, and while damaged ones may recover over time, it is best to take steps to prevent this from happening. Experts at Crown Pavilions have advised that now is the time to “put your garden to bed”.

Winter garden survival tips include raising and covering plant pots, mulching, tying back branches and avoiding walking on the grass.

A spokesperson for Crown Pavilions said: “Getting the garden ready for winter can be a satisfying process, and will be worth it when spring approaches and the garden is in a good state.

“Many outdoor plants are just left in the cold to batter rain, wind and snow, and will therefore need to be prepped for the extreme weather conditions.

“Hardier plants need little or no winter protection, but sun-loving plants will need some tender loving care to get them through chilly weather unharmed.

“The elements can cause havoc on gardens in winter. Heavy rains can cause root rot, while high winds can increase cold damage or cause dehydration.

“By following our tips, and prepping your garden now, you will give your garden the best chance of survival and be ready to hit the ground running in spring.”

One step gardeners can take to avoid their plants being ruined by the cold weather and frost is to cover pots.

Crown Pavilions recommended gardeners “use old newspaper” or horticultural fleece over the plants.

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This is a temporary step to protect them but it is easy to remove and add to the plant, meaning it won’t take a lot of time to protect them.

Gardeners can also move plant pots if they are unsure how they will react to the frost.

The experts said: “Move plants in pots to a warmer or more sheltered part of the garden or into a cold greenhouse.

“In colder parts of the UK, it’s advised to raise them off ground level or store them in a shed before planting them out again in spring.

“For your potted plants, it is worth considering raising pots off the ground to avoid them waterlogging and potentially freezing and splitting when it turns even colder.”

Conifer plants can benefit from being tied back during a snow or frost spell because it will help to prevent the branches from bending or breaking.

When the weather turns frosty, it is important to ensure plant drainage is at its best.

Crown Pavilions recommend pitchforking holes in the surrounding area to drain excess water.

Most plants can also benefit from mulch over their roots for more protection in the winter.

The experts explained: “Mulch can be garden compost, wood or bark clippings or any loose substance to lay over the soil as a covering.”

What’s more, mulching can also help provide the soil with nutrients, help to retain water and even prevent weeds.

Although it can be tempting to walk on frosty grass, footprints on the grass in winter can damage it immensely, causing brown marks.

Crown Pavilions said: “Grass or turf has a fantastic way of surviving the freezing cold. Ice crystals form between the cells, actually protecting them from any damage.

“But the pressure from walking on grass causes the ice crystals to split the very cell walls they are trying to protect.”

Lastly, flower beds need to be looked after during the winter months, digging up and replacing dead plants.

The experts said: “Cutting back any perennials is important and gardeners will benefit come spring.

“Britons should also spread a layer of fertiliser or mulch to help with soil nutrition and aid growth when warmer weather comes.”

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