Many homeowners think that winter is too challenging of a time to bother with gardening, but the truth is that this is the ideal time to start taking the necessary steps that will help protect your trees and plants against harsh weather and freezing temperatures. Keeping the following tips and advice in mind will help ensure that your plants are as protected as possible during this time of year.
Watering is Still Essential
Despite the fact that Chicago winter temperatures often drop to extremely low figures, it’s still essential for plants to be watered from time to time. To ensure that your plants will be able to use the water as effectively as possible though, you should wait until temperatures have climbed above 40°F. This will ensure that the ground will be warm enough to absorb the water.
Fertilize your Lawn
Providing your lawn with fertilizer will help ensure that it grows as rich and green as possible when spring arrives. It’s recommended that the fertilizer you use is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
During this time, your grass should be cut to a height of between one to two inches shorter than normal. This will not only help prevent the development of frostbite and snow mold; it can even help prevent mice and other smaller critters from digging nests in your grass as the cold weather approaches.
Keep Small Plants Covered
Smaller plants can be extremely vulnerable to frost and cold overnight temperatures. As such, these should be covered with anything that will be able to offer them protection against the cold. Items that can be used to place over them include old flowerpots, plastic bags, plastic bottles that have been cut in half or even that old fruit basket that is no longer looking that great on your kitchen counter. Some gardeners even go as far as using old quilts or blankets to cover fragile plants at night.
Protect Plants from Road Salt Exposure
If you have any trees or small plants that are close to a sidewalk or public road, there’s a strong chance that they will be exposed to road salt – which can cause irreparable damage to them. Be sure to exercise extreme caution when applying road salt near any tree roots or fragile plants – cover these if necessary to protect them.
Observe Climatic Conditions
Consider placing a thermometer and/or barometer at a strategic point in your yard so that you can track weather patterns and potential changes. This will help you to detect exactly when to expect sudden temperature drops or the arrival of rain and/or snow so that you can take the necessary precautions ahead of time to protect your plants.
Ensuring that all of the necessary precautions are taken to provide your garden with the protection it needs in winter can seem like an overwhelming task to tackle alone. If you’d like to learn more about preparing your lawn and garden for the harsh Chicago winters, speak with our team today.