Help protect the plants trying to survive the winter conditions of your garden so that they can reward you with beauty in the spring.
With extreme temperature changes freezing plants and surrounding soil and the possibility of a sudden, temporary thaw followed by another round of dropping temperatures, root structures of plants can be heaved right out of the ground to face the winter garden conditions. The drying winter winds, intense sunlight and the sheer weight of snow and ice can damage the plants in the winter garden without some gardening precautions.
Just because perennial plants are supposed to come up every year doesn’t mean they’ll survive a harsh winter, especially in a garden that is exposed to conditions outside of the plants native environment. A proactive gardener can help the perennial plant survive a harsh winter by cutting the plant down to an inch or two of the ground before harsh weather sets in. The root system of the perennial plant can be further protected by covering with a layer of mulch.
Hardy bulbs that are planted in the fall so that they can bloom in the early spring can better survive the winter if they are protected by a layer of mulch. Some hardy bulbs are eaten during the winter by animals in search of food. Give hardy bulbs protection by planting them in wire cages.
Bulbs that bloom in the summer, like dahlia and gladiolus should be dug up in the fall and stored over the winter. Dig them up before the frost damages them.
Even hardy tubers can be given extra protection from being damaged by unusual changing temperatures of winter simply by covering them with a layer of straw.
The branches of shrubs can break if they are subject to snow and ice storms. If heavy snow accumulates on your shrubs, shake it off.
Before the ground freezes, water the shrubs well and spread mulch around the roots to protect them.
Pests and Disease
Many types of garden diseases and insect pests can survive the winter in garden debris. Make sure dead plants and other debris are removed from the garden in the fall and disposed of properly to give your garden the best possible chance to survive the winter with as little damage as possible.
Ohio State University: Overwintering Plants in the Landscape
University of Illinois Extension: Preparing Plants for Winter
University of Vermont Extension: Preparing the Garden for Winter