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Amy Jeanroy

Winter Garden Checkup

By January 31, 2014

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If you are lucky enough to get a reprieve from the winter weather, scoot out and take a look at your garden beds. There are some things that no matter how cold, should be addressed as soon as you see them.

Plants lifting or heaving -The frequent thawing and freezing of the topsoil can push plants right up out of the ground. Gently step around the lifted plant and press it back into place, before the roots die of exposure.

Obvious animal damage -Let's face it; critters love our gardens. The soil is soft and easy to dig into, the plants are tasty and well fed, and for the most part, our gardens are protected better than other areas of the yard, from predatory animals. This means that they are viewed as easy living to small rodents and birds overwintering. Check for digging and chewing damage on your plants. Try to spot where the new burrows and chew marks are and deal with the animals doing the destruction, before they kill what plants are there. I have cats that keep most critters away from the gardens, but there are  repellents and trapping methods that may help.

Winter seedheads gone or exhausted -I recommend leaving things like echinacea seed heads and other plant material in place, for birds that overwinter . Now might be the time to remove the seedheads if they are broken and used up. Look closely at the plant material that you have left in place and cut it back to clean up the area and prevent a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that will come alive at the first sign of spring.

Mulch blown too thin or moved - Let's call it wear and tear. With winter winds and bad weather, mulch can be blown around, heaped up against one side of a plant and not the other, or just plain moved away from the area it is supposed to be protecting. Go out with a garden rake and put back this winter blanket where it needs to be. Take note of any areas that seem to get more wind than others, and work that into your garden plan for this year.

All of these things seem to go unnoticed until spring and then the damage may be done. Take a few minutes to go out and look closely at all your overwintering gardens. You may be able to head off a larger problem while it is still manageable.



February 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm
(1) Starrpoint says:

I think I lost my last ferns and hostas.

I told hubby after the last spell of freezing weather the front bed looked like it had been dug up. I think the deer got them.

Oh well.

I guess they have to live too.

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