With autumn well and truly here, it’s imperative that we start thinking about how the weather changing can affect our plants. Tender plants and trees can suffer from the cold, and be massively affected by the upcoming frosty months. In this article, we will be providing vital top tips for how you can transition your estate or garden into this new season.
Assess Your Garden
First things first; take stock of your garden. You will need to determine what plants will need a little help towards the colder months. We recommend looking for signs of stress or damage- this can look like wilting, insect infestation, or even diseases. It’s important to note that plants in pots, flowers in beds or trees will all need to be treated differently, and could require varying levels of care.
Pruning and Deadheading
Pruning and deadheading your plants can promote a much healthier growth overall, meaning they will be able to flourish in the next season. Removing finished or spent blooms can not only prevent diseases but by asking your estate management team to trim back any overgrowth or dead growth your plants may have will encourage them to develop new foliage.
Watering Your Plants
In the UK, both autumn and winter can be extremely cold. September, October and November are considered the beginning of the more chillier evenings, with December, January and February expected to be icy cold. Due to this, your gardening team may look to adjust their watering schedule to keep up with the colder temperatures. In autumn and winter, plants go into hibernation and have little to no activity. By overwatering them, you can cause root rot. Your estate management team will also assess if there is proper drainage put in place for your plants.
As the temperatures drop, it’s important to consider how you will regulate the soil temperature around your plants. We recommend applying a layer of mulch around the base of your more delicate plants to retain that all important moisture. To protect your roots and leaves, if you have planter beds, you can add bark or compost.
As professional gardeners, we would recommend applying mulch in late autumn. Once the ground has cooled down considerably, before the very first frost. This will allow the soil to keep as much heat as possible and protect your plants from any sudden temperature drops, or drastic changes. Before applying mulch, your gardening team will ensure that it has direct contact with your soil. Dead leaves, weeds and various other types of debris can get in the way, and prevent the mulch from being put around the base of the plants.
In terms of ‘how much mulch is too much?’It’s vital to not pile it around the plant’s stem. Doing this can lead to moisture retention and fungal issues later on. Keeping a clear path around the stem will minimise the chances of the mulch doing more harm than good.
Protection From The Frost
As well as applying mulch around your tend plants, you may also have to think about how the frost is going to affect your trees and potted plants.
Protecting Your Trees Against Frost
You can, like with other plants, also apply mulch around the base of your trees. Again, be careful not to mound it against the trunk. Use organic mulch, like wood chips or shredded leaves to help regulate the soil temperature around the trees during autumn. As well as mulch, you can also wrap any delicate or brittle branches that might be prone to breaking under the weight of a heavy snow or ice.
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, ‘winter wrappings are best put in place at the first warning of frost, usually between September and November’. Wrapping or staking these branches can provide them extra protection and support from the changing elements. There are few ways this can be done; you can opt for tree wrap, which is a specialised product made from materials such as burlap or fabric. Burlap itself is also a great option. Burlap is known for its natural and breathable fabric which is perfect for protecting young plants against harsh winters. You can also opt for horticultural fleece, which acts as a lightweight frost cloth which can protect against any frost of cold. A horticultural fleece is typically used on small and medium crowns with straw and leaves used for filling.
As well as wrapping your branches, your gardening team may suggest a frost burner. It’s important that towards the end of the season, in March till April to avoid any frost damage on flowers which appear on your trees. Selecting a high-quality frost burner which has been designed for outdoor use can starve off frost. There are a variety of types, such as; oil-burning, propane or electric heaters. We can help you choose one that will suit your needs and is safe for the surrounding environment. We will position the frost burners strategically around the tree you are looking to protect, and by spacing them in the evening, we will be sure that your tree has adequate coverage.
Protecting Your Potted Plants Against Frost
As well as your trees, your potted plants may not enjoy the frosty weather. It’s important to identify which of your potted plants are considered ‘tender’ and may be sensitive to the change in temperature. We would recommend waiting until the temperature consistently drops to a level that tender plants cannot tolerate before considering moving them inside.
For some potted plants, we wouldn’t recommend moving them completely to an inside space. Some can simply be moved to a sheltered area, which has no direct wind and is considered to be more covered from the elements. We would suggest opting to move some of your potted plants closer to walls, as they provide a different temperature, which can be a couple of degrees warmer.
For the plants you are looking to move inside, it’s important to adjust their watering and lighting schedules. It’s easy to waterlog plants or not provide them with enough appropriate light conditions. This change in routine, without adjustments, can cause plants to not reach their full flourishing potential. During this moving process, you can also refresh the containers with new soil if it’s necessary.
How BZ Gardens Can Help With Your Arboricultural services
At BZ GARDENS, we offer a complete range of horticultural services tailored to the unique needs and desires of each of our clients, all year round. Our dedicated and skilled teams are not only reliable but also passionate about what they do. They work diligently to uphold the highest standards of green space maintenance, so you can unwind and savour your outdoor oasis, even in the colder seasons. If you would like to speak to one of our team members, contact us at 01483 967160 or email us at email@example.com.