Swansons Nursery - Protecting Plants during Cold Weather

9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA 98117
(206) 782-2543

Hours and Directions:
Open 9am - 6pm Daily


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Protecting Plants during Cold Weather

Protect your plants during severe cold weather from winter damage

If the weather suddenly turns cold, tender plants may need special protection to avoid damage from freezing temperatures. There are several ways you can provide winter protection, including mulching, covering plants, or moving them.

MULCHING is one of the best ways to protect plant roots. Compost, bark mulch, straw, and leaves are commonly used. Apply up to 2 inches of mulch around plant, but keep away from the trunk or main stems of trees and shrubs. Roses and cane berries are the exception; mulch should actually be mounded over the canes. After danger of frost has passed in spring, pull the mulching materials away.

COVERING is an effective way to protect the foliage of broadleaf evergreen shrubs from winter damage. Harvest Guard frost blanket for plant protectionCover rhododendrons, camellias, and similar shrubs with cloth material (such as burlap, old blankets, fleece, or Reemay) during extremely cold weather to shield shrubs from drying winds and sun scald. Place three or four stakes around the plant to be protected, then wrap material over the stakes, being careful the cloth doesn’t come in contact and freeze onto the leaves.
      Do not use polyethylene sheeting because it acts much like a greenhouse, taking plants from nightly lows to high daily temperature in a relatively short time period. This rapid temperature change can cause serious freeze damage or may be fatal to plants.

Any type of covering should only be left in place during the cold spell. As soon as the weather moderates or it begins to rain, remove the covering completely. Leave the stakes, however, in case it gets cold again.

CONTAINERS: Plants in containers are more likely to freeze than those in the ground. The easiest way to provide winter protection for containers is to simply move them into an unheated garage during a cold spell. Once the weather improves, put them back outside. Do not leave planted containers inside all winter, unless you have a greenhouse or sunroom. Clustering your pots along the foundation of your house together also provides protection and shelter. If the planted container is too large to move during cold weather, mulch around the sides of the pot to keep it from freezing. Simply mound compost or straw up around the sides of the container, or wrap with bubble wrap or insulation to protect the root ball. Water container plants if a freeze is expected.

WATERING: For plants located under the eaves of the house, container gardens, or tall evergreens where the soil is likely to dry out, check the soil moisture monthly as even in the winter they may need watering. A dry plant is more easily damaged by the cold.

Winter Protection for Evergreens

Wilt-Stop protects evergeens from winter damageUse Wilt-Stop to prevent evergreen leaves and needles from drying out. It works great on coniferous evergreens like Arborvitae and Alberta spruce as well as broad-leaf evergreens such as Boxwood or Rhododendrons. Use prior to onset of frigid weather and apply a second application on a mild day in January or February (above 45 degrees).

Wilt-Stop also helps preserve your fresh holiday greens because it keeps them from drying out too quickly. Use the convenient ready-to-use bottle to spray on all your Holiday greens.

Swansons Nursery - 206.782.2543, 9701 15th Northwest, Seattle, Open Daily 9am to 6pm Newsletter
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