Winter has arrived in Australia and the overnight temps are starting to edge closer to zero. As a first-time homeowner, you want to make sure that your gardens don't suffer any cold or frost damage, but you are not sure how to care for your outdoor plants during this time of year. Here are three suggestions to help make sure that your outdoor plants thrive rather than die over the colder winter months.
Be Sure To Mulch
Adding mulch around your plants in the winter is done for a different reason to mulching in the summer. In the summer, you add mulch to keep water in the soil and to stop it from evaporating away. In the winter, you add mulch around your plants to keep the ground frozen. Frozen soil will not kill your plants, but if you do not put mulch on it, then the ground will freeze and thaw on a daily basis. This constant compaction with freeze and expansion with thawing kills the roots of your outdoor plants. So, make sure you have a steady supply of mulch on hand from your wholesale nursery.
Remove Bulbs From The Ground In Winter
The first daffodil flowers of spring are a sight to behold, but bulbs do not love cold winters, so they need to be removed from the ground as soon as possible. Once the bulbs have been carefully dug out of the ground, allow them to lay out on a tray in the sun for 24 to 48 hours. Once they are dry, be sure to apply an anti-fungus powder to your bulb's roots. You can buy this powder from your plant supplier. This will make sure nothing grows on and damages the roots while the bulbs are stored. The bulbs can be placed in plain paper bags for storing, and these should be put into a dry spot of your garage or gardening shed. Moisture is the enemy of your bulbs while stored, as it can cause root rot to occur.
Remember Your Roses
It is important that your roses become dormant over winter as new growth that emerges into the cold will be easily damaged. This damage can then spread to the rest of the plant and kill it. To encourage rose dormancy, stop feeding them now if you have not already done so. There is also no need to water your rose once the ground is frozen, as there is plenty of moisture trapped beneath the surface to keep it alive. Remove any dead leaves immediately when you see them, and just before spring arrives, remove all mulch so that the bottom of the plant doesn't become attacked by insects or too much moisture.
For any other concerns about the health of your plants during winter, do not hesitate to go and have a chat with your local landscape plant supplier, as they understand the growing conditions specific to your region.