by Cassie Steele, Freelance Writer
As the days start getting colder, many Maine residents are thinking about winterizing their home in preparation of the coming months. Winterizing not only keeps your home safe from damage, but can also save you a countless amount of time, money, and frustration when it comes to repairs.
While many Maine families are diligent about preparing their homes for winter, with a focus on providing warmth indoors, unfortunately not everybody takes as much care with their garden. Maine spans USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 6, which means that temperatures can reach extremes as low as -35℉ in some areas. If you’re looking forward to colorful flowers and delicious veggies in the springtime, it’s crucial that you take steps now to protect your plants over the winter.
Weed and Prune
Before the first snow starts to fall, it’s a good idea to head outside and tidy up your garden. Remove dead branches, invasive weeds and other debris with a pair of quality garden shears. This removes dead materials that bugs and rodents can use to nest in, helping you to avoid an onslaught of pests come springtime. It also means that your garden will be ready to go in the spring, allowing you to jump in and start planting new sprouts immediately.
Dig Up Delicate Plants
Some plants can survive the winter and pop back up in the springtime if given a simple covering during cold months. Others, though, are more susceptible to frost and snow. You should dig up both bulbs and rooted plants that may die if exposed to cold and transfer them to pots that can be stored indoors. When it starts to warm up again, simply transfer these plants back outside and watch them thrive.
Protect Your Trees
Many gardeners assume that their trees will be fine on their own come winter. After all, most trees have managed to survive plenty of winters before. While trees do tend to be hardier than other garden plants when faced with foul weather, they’re not completely impervious. Young trees and saplings are particularly susceptible, as they have thin bark that tends to crack from fluctuating temperatures. You can help to prevent this by wrapping tree tape or spiral protectors around the based of the trunk.
Even evergreen trees can suffer from damage during harsh winter months. Low soil moisture, freezing temperatures, and rough winds can all cause damage to both the interior and exterior of the plant, including the dreaded winter burn. To prevent this from happening, make sure that evergreens are well hydrated throughout the fall months. You can also create windbreaks by wrapping stakes in the ground with burlap or landscaping fabric to form a makeshift barricade.
Though most of us weatherize our home come wintertime, not everybody considers their garden. Spending a bit of time and energy preparing your garden for the winter can help to ensure that all of your hard work during the year doesn’t go to waste. You’ll keep your plants alive and healthy so that your garden can spring back to life when the weather warms up.