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Off Season Winter Garden Tasks

Winter is the perfect time to get a jump start on next year’s garden. Use this off-season gardening time to winterize your garden and to prepare for warmer days when you can dig to your heart’s content. You’ll be ready to grow as soon as the sun peeks out and the thermometer begins to rise.

The ideal time for winter weed removal is early winter before small seeds are spread by tilling, snow, pets, and wind. Simply roll up your sleeves and dig up the weeds carefully using hand tools. You’ll want to get as much of the plant as possible without spreading the seeds into your garden. Mulching your garden is another way to suppress weeds.

During freeze and thaw cycles, you may want to check around the grounds of your perennial plants. They can be easily heaved or pushed up out of their planting holes. If this happens, simply tuck them back into place and water just as you did when you first planted them.

Many assume plants become dormant in the winter and no longer require watering, however, forgetting to water during the winter season could result in needing to replace plants come Spring. Young trees and shrubs require consistent moisture for the first several years after planting- even during winter months.

To prevent the weakening effects of drought, continue to water trees and shrubs as usual up until the ground freezes. You can then take a break from watering until the ground thaws. Since plants lose moisture through their needles, leaves, and trunks throughout the winter, look for short periods of winter thaw as an ideal time to replenish lost moisture by watering deeply.

An antidesiccant spray can be an effective way to maintain moisture during the winter, especially when applied to broadleaf evergreens and rhododendrons. The spray covers the plant with a waxy substance that slows down the moisture loss. This prevents the plant from drying out during the freezing weather.

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