Canadians love to garden. We spend hours planting and pruning, weeding and feeding so that our garden will be a source of pride and joy for us during our short growing season.

We invest a lot of time and money into our gardens and like any good investment, it’s important to know how to protect it. During winter’s cold and wet season our garden needs that extra protection to help it stay healthy and vibrant during the warmer seasons. So what plants need protection and how do we protect them?

Tender Plants and Frost

Tender plants need protection in the winter. But what exactly are tender plants? These are perennials that are usually noted as half-hardy perennials, tropical and subtropical. The categories are determined by the plant’s ability to tolerate particular temperatures. Plants that can tolerate extended periods of cold temperatures, but will not survive frost are known as half-hardy perennials. Then there are subtropical plants which can tolerate freezing temperatures. However they won’t survive temperatures that are below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for any period of time. It’s important to know the plants in your garden and which ones will need to be protected during the winter.

Once you have determined which plants require protection you are then ready to begin. Fall is the best time of year to apply the protection to your plants. A very easy and effective way to protect plants is mulching. Using an organic material for your mulch will also enhance the soil and as the mulch decomposes it releases nutrients into the earth. In the fall, pull away the old mulch from the base of the plant and apply a new 3” layer around the plant, out to the drip line. Leave at least a ½” space around the stem of the plant. This will allow air circulation and prevent rot.

Trees, Shrubs and Rose Bushes

For trees, wrap the tender tree trunks with sections of burlap or you can white wash them to help prevent winter sunscald. Sunscald occurs when tender plant areas are exposed to excessive amounts of very strong sunlight resulting in damage which will appear as withered brown spots on leaves, trunks and stems.

For roses, rake a mound of soil around the base to a depth of 12” to 18” to protect the crown.

On new foliage on shrubs and bushes, apply an anti-desiccant. This will shield it from damage from the wind and winter sun.

Perennials and Winter

For your perennials you can place a 6” to 8” layer of wood chips or straw over the beds. Dry leaves or peat moss can also be used. Hold this insulation in place by placing an overturned bushel basket, fabric, netting or even some evergreen branches. Some extra tender perennials such as hydrangea can benefit from being wrapped with burlap to protect them from winter’s harsh temperatures.

For plants that don’t like winter, cover the crowns with straw or leaves under a plastic or glass cover. You can then cover with conifer branches or even burlap. This will prevent overheating from the sun.

With a little bit of effort and care, the hard work and money you put into your garden all spring and summer can be protected over the winter. This will ensure that your garden will reappear next spring as beautiful as it was the previous year. If you feel like you need a helping hand getting your property ready for the winter, contact Evergreen Landscapes. Each Evergreen maintenance crew is supervised by a hands-on foreman that is certified with a horticulturist diploma, so all the plants you love will get the proper care.