Protecting Gardens in Cold Snaps

The harsh cold that's hovering over much of the nation could hurt your garden.

The Deep Freeze of 2010

However, there are ways you can protect your landscape during this cold winter. New "Early Show" gardening guru Ahmed Hassan, a certified landscape contractor and host of DIY network's "Yard Crashers," shared tips on how you can shield your yards and gardens from taking a hit in the cold weather.

PROTECT PLANTS WITH FROST BLANKETS

Frost blankets, widely available at garden centers and home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's, are used to protect delicate foliage from frost. If you can't find a frost blanket, a bed sheet or piece of burlap will do the trick. You go out and cover the foliage with this material at night, and take it off in the morning. It doesn't look pretty, but it keeps your plants protected when the temperatures dip at night

HANG LIGHTS TO KEEP FOLIAGE WARM

If you haven't removed the holiday lights from your trees and bushes yet -- don't. Keep them up! It might look cheesy, but it's about protecting your trees and bushes, not about looks. The heat emitted from the bulbs can actually keep the leaves and branches warm. And if you have those old, giant bulbs lying around, hang them up! The bigger the bulb, the more heat it will let off, and the more effective it will be. The newer LED lights won't do much at all, so if you have them hanging, you can probably just take them down.

WATER PLANTS AND TREES

The roots are still active in the winter and need water to survive, so don't neglect them. You want to keep the soil moist and feed the roots. You DO NOT want to water the foliage. You're going to freeze the foliage and it will die.

SPREAD MULCH TO INSULATE ROOTS

In addition to watering, it's a good idea to spread mulch on the ground around the roots. Spreading mulch is like putting a comforter around the roots -- it insulates the soil and warms it during the winter months. Mulch retains soil heat and keeps it from escaping, which in turn protects root systems. Besides, it's a great idea to spread new mulch once a year, so the winter is a good time to do that. Light mulch will reflect the heat, dark mulch will absorb it.

PRUNING SHEARS: PUT THEM AWAY!

You see these? Put them away! Do not prune any of the foliage -- dead, alive or damaged -- on your shrubs or trees. Dead leaves and branches can like mulch help to shelter the roots from the harsh winter conditions. The more plants you have around, the more they will protect each other. All the dead leaves and such on the ground will create microclimates, which add yet another layer of protection from the harsh weather.
  • CBSNews

Comments