May 27, 2024
15 tips to prepare your garden for winter
A vegetable garden in the winter at The Gardens at Texas A&M University. Raised planter beds have lettuce heads abd leafy kale in them. The lawn around the boxes is winter brown.
Winter season veggies at The Gardens. (Texas A&M AgriLife photograph by Laura McKenzie)

As cooler weather starts about the condition, Texans require to begin preparing their gardens and yards for the drop in temperatures. A fantastic rule of “green” thumb is the farther north you dwell in the condition, the quicker you require to start off preparing.

“Texans really should begin thinking about making ready their garden for wintertime in early fall ideally having said that, it is not far too late — and even imagine in advance to spring,” reported Michael Arnold, Ph.D., director of The Gardens at Texas A&M University and professor of landscape horticulture in the Section of Horticultural Sciences at the Texas A&M Faculty of Agriculture and Daily life Sciences, Bryan-Faculty Station.

Wintertime gardening: How to consider care of your back garden and lawn in chilly temperatures 

Arnold shared what he considers to be the key issues Texans should really be undertaking now to put together for the coming seasons.

1. Clear away spent annuals

Plant awesome-season annuals for winter coloration in your gardens. “Annuals are a charge-helpful way to insert non permanent shade to your yard 12 months-spherical by paying for time-ideal crops,” Arnold explained. Also, you should right away plant wildflower seeds, if you have them.

2. Weed and clean up

Pansy at The Gardens at Texas A&M University. A sign in front of the purple flowers indicates the type of pansy growing in the winter garden
Pansy is a excellent alternative for an annual after the weather conditions cools. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie)

As we enter the winter season year, several gardeners will discover it is the excellent time to take out unwanted crops. Weeding now will reduce the get the job done your back garden will require for the other three seasons. Gardeners should really also implement a pre-emergent herbicide, or a ‘weed killer,’ for amazing-season weeds in landscape beds and turf regions, if wished-for.

3. Plant trees and shrubs

Late tumble is the best time to plant woody vegetation so roots can be proven before the warmth of summer season. The Texas A&M Forest Company has several website applications that give superior tree species solutions and tips for particular Texas regions and how to care for trees, together with managing pests and illnesses.

4. Prune trees and shrubs

As the weather cools and plants definitely go dormant for wintertime, it is time to prune. Arnold endorses increasing limbs on shade trees, removing overlapping branches on trees, placing scaffold branching on orchard crops and pruning shrubs that bloom on new wood by early February at the latest. He cautions about the great importance of staying conscious if a tree blooms on new wooden, like crepe myrtle, or on aged wooden, like apple or pear. “If you prune branches on crops flowering on old wood, you are taking off the buds that ended up established in the tumble and will bloom in spring,” Arnold said. He instructed to “prune crops blooming on previous wooden right away right after they bloom.”

5. Plant grass seed

Temperatures have cooled sufficient to overseed turfgrass or spread grass seed instantly on to your lawn without the need of turning the soil. “But that’s a double-edged sword,” Arnold reported. “You might get wonderful, eco-friendly grass even in the winter, but you have to have to be geared up to preserve it. H2o although the seed germinates, then mow. So possibly think 2 times if you want to do that.”

6. Divide perennials and transplant genuine amazing-year plants

Pick out cool-year crops like pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, ornamental cabbage, kale and such. Maintain in intellect that annuals usually only last a time, whilst perennials can occur again for decades or even a long time.

7. Consider planting winter season veggies

Several locations of Texas can get in a person previous late tumble harvest, and now is the time to transplant awesome-period veggies if you reside in hotter sections of the state.

8. Use fallen leaves as mulch or compost

Fallen leaves make an best mulch or compost. In late fall, following the initial several frosts and just before the 1st tough freeze, Arnold recommends looking at employing all those mulched leaves or shredded bark close to the crown of tender perennials for security.

9. Take cuttings of any tender, at-risk plants

If vegetation are delicate to the cold, you could possibly want to acquire cuttings to propagate and overwinter. Arnold endorses viewing for chilly nights and observing at-danger vegetation that may well will need to be protected. Light blankets or tarps may be positioned on them right away to safeguard them from frost.

10. Relocate potted vegetation that are not cold hardy

“Keep in intellect that potted vegetation have roots that will get colder than all those in the ground,” Arnold explained. Be aware that crops brought indoors may perhaps drop their leaves in response to the transform in daylight but will then set on new types. Tropical plants will want to be in a hotter region of a residence with a sunny window, but other crops can be in a garage with a window or on a shielded porch.

The Gardens at Texas A&M University in winter. Five fruit trees are draped in white covers to protect them from frost.
Fruit trees guarded from freezing temperatures in February at The Gardens at Texas A&M University. (Texas A&M AgriLife photograph by Laura McKenzie)

11. Stop by your community public gardens

Now is the year to be motivated, Arnold said. He endorses you prepare a take a look at to your community public gardens to get be aware of trees, shrubs and vines that present tumble and wintertime curiosity take into account planting them for foreseeable future decades. “At The Gardens, we get all sorts of distinctive sorts and shades and textures from different vegetation to teach men and women what they can plant in their possess backyard,” he stated. “With a tiny planning, you can produce a garden that is pleasurable for all 4 seasons.”

12. Clear resources and prepare spring plantings

“Winter is a great time to catch up,” Arnold stated. In addition to arranging future gardens, winter season gives gardeners the time to repair service and exchange resources they won’t instantly will need.

13. Get ready your pipes

Arnold mentioned the single most vital point owners can do in advance of wintertime is to track down their drainage and cutoff valves to protect and shield pipes and irrigation programs. “Find your valves nowadays and make absolutely sure you know how to turn them off.” Invest in or put together insulation resources for exterior spigots and uncovered pipes.

14. Feel delayed gratification

“Long-phrase herbaceous perennials and bulbs require to be planted very well before you want to appreciate them,” he stated. “So now is a wonderful time to get some perennials into the floor and established prior to the cold.” With bulbs, Arnold suggested refrigerating them for about 6 months to put together them to be planted all around mid-December, so they’ll be ready for spring bloom.”

15. Be client

Arnold said that vegetation that may perhaps look useless could nonetheless be dormant arrive spring. As the weather conditions warms, he claimed you can carefully scratch the stem. If it is continue to eco-friendly beneath, it is alive. “Be affected individual,” he mentioned. “A little fertilizer and TLC can work miracles.”

Really don’t hesitate to ask for enable

Dr. Mike Arnold of The Gardens at Texas A&M University stands in front of vines with his hand on a post. He wears a maroon shirt with the logo and smiles into the camera. He has silver hair and a mustache.
Mike Arnold, Ph.D., director at The Gardens at Texas A&M University. (Texas A&M AgriLife picture by Sam Craft)

“There are so quite a few means offered via the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to enable gardeners,” Arnold said. “If you have any questions, I propose achieving out to your neighborhood county business because they can place you in touch with a horticulturalist acquainted with your region.”

Likewise, if you are looking to get involved with gardeners from your region and sign up for a group, Arnold stated Texas Grasp Gardeners could be for you. “It is a great, volunteer-dependent system operate by AgriLife Extension. The volunteers are not only qualified gardeners, but they have a prosperity of understanding about the vegetation of their certain region,” Arnold stated. “They also supply discovering gatherings, workshops and have training gardens.”

Plan for the massive picture

It is wonderful that we’re receiving persons to believe about winterizing their backyard, he stated, but we want to get gardeners considering about spring now far too, as properly as their backyard for the coming calendar year.

“Ultimately, remaining educated sufficient to system in advance means remaining able to improve your backyard garden,” he reported.

“Most of Texas doesn’t have as effectively pronounced seasons as other areas of the nation, so we can have the joy of gardening most of the 12 months — with a little progress planning and planning.”