Have you heard? HA. Right. Have you stepped outside? Brr! We’ve got that pesky polar vortex to thank for wind chills in the teens and an ice storm that threatens to disrupt holiday travel plans from Virginia to Maine. After a hot, hot summer and a warmer than average fall Gainesville VA homeowners are stunned with the early and sudden arrival of winter.
But perhaps no one, nothing is caught more unaware by winter’s first icing than the plants in your garden. Go on and bundle up; in advance of this weekend’s forecast extreme weather, take a few minutes to take special care of your landscape.
Dry, winter conditions aren’t kind to human skin, nor to Christmas trees, shrubs, and other evergreen plants. As these plants continue to lose moisture through their leaves, less is available in the air — and so need watering more often. Well-hydrated plans are hardier and more likely to survive a hard freeze or ice.
There are plants that will easily withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store, but others need a bit of added protection. Cover your flowerbeds with a healthy layer of hardwood mulch from JK Enterprise Landscape Supply, which helps trap moisture in the ground and keeps plants’ roots warm. Keep falling snow, ice, and sleet from penetrating the surface of the ground with a windscreen; this can be achieved with two stakes and a surface of burlap. Woven burlap allows air to pass, simultaneously trapping the warm air inside and allowing for proper oxygen flow unlike plastic tarping.
Salt is an effective way to prepare steps and walkways before a winter storm, but it’s important to note that when spread too far and too wide, it can negatively affect the life of your plants and trees. Salt dehydrates. Minimize the risk by using a more environmentally friendly alternative like calcium magnesium acetate. CMA is both biodegradable and non-corrosive, and poses little to no risk to animals, plants, and the rust-prone metal underneath your vehicles.
This is necessary and should happen any time temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Perennials, shrubs, and trees that have spread roots underground find warmth from ground cover and wind barriers, but potted plants are far more vulnerable to damage from wind and ice. Bring them inside to bloom another day.