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Preparing your garden for winter

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Preparing your garden for the winter is definitely a job worth doing. If you invest a bit of time protecting your plants and clearing up now, it’ll make springtime a lot easier. And with the cold weather about to set in, the autumn months are ideal to make sure everything’s ready for the big freeze. Then you can relax indoors and look forward to a tidy garden and blooming bulbs in spring.

Here are ten handy steps to getting your garden ready for winter:

1) Protect young trees

Invest in some plastic or wire mesh guards to protect the delicate trunks of new trees and shrubs and keep frost, snow and vermin at bay over winter.

2) Give your lawn some TLC

Autumn is the time to give your grass one last mow and treat it to some fertiliser so you’ll wake up to a lush lawn in spring. And if you’re hanging up your tools over the chilly months, it’s a good time to give your lawnmower a service and get any blades sharpened so they’re ready for action next time.

3) Get rid of weeds

Make sure you’re up to date with weeding and don’t be tempted to throw anything with seeds into your compost heap – you don’t want them to sprout in unwanted places. Cut back hedges, bushes and trees.

4) Plant your spring bulbs

It’s time to plan ahead and plant your spring bulbs before there’s any danger of the ground freezing solid, then you can look forward to daffodils and tulips in spring.

5) Feed the birds

Set up a bird table to give your feathered friends some help over winter. The RSPB recommends that you put food and water out on a regular basis and feed them twice daily in severe weather if you can. They need high fat foods to survive the frost, so give them good quality winter bird foods.

6) Check your fences and sheds

Be ready for extreme temperatures and wet and windy weather by making sure your fences are well maintained and sheds are watertight and secure. Don’t be tempted to leave repairs until spring, as winter could make any problems worse.

7) Put your garden furniture away

Now’s the time to clean up and treat your garden furniture, wrap it in plastic and put it in a safe, waterproof location so it’s ready to use again in spring. This is one job you’ll be really glad you did when the sun comes out next year!

8) Clean up leaves…

Get into the habit of clearing leaves away from your lawn each week, rather than leaving it until it’s completely covered as they can weaken the grass by blocking daylight and air.

9) …But don’t let them go to waste

Autumn leaves can be a useful tool. Try shredding them and using them as winter mulch to give your flower beds a treat. If you’re finding them hard to shred, just run a mower over them a couple of times.

10) Don’t give up watering just yet

Carry on watering evergreens until the ground freezes. They’ll still need moisture as winter approaches because they don’t lose their leaves. So they’ll still need care over the cold months

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