What and When to Cover the Garden for the Winter: Protecting Plants from Frost

Covering fruits and flowers for the winter is used to protect plants from winter frosts. In November, the first winter frosts arrive and the first snow falls. Some plants can survive the winter outdoors, but some plants need frost protection. To prevent frosts from harming the plants, they should be covered with film or aerofoil for the winter. Young seedlings with weak roots should be covered first.

When to cover plants for the winter

You can not cover plants ahead of time, or they will “suffocate” inside. But to cover plants late is also bad. Covering plants usually begin in early November. This year the autumn was warm, so you can postpone the procedure to the second half of November when the nights are already quite cold.

If the cold weather does not come for a long time, focus on the temperature. It is worth putting the cover as soon as the temperature drops to -5 … -7°. Most plants will have a hard time with this temperature.

Remove the cover at the beginning of March at the earliest. The material should be removed gradually over several days so that the plant survived the temperature drop easier.

Which plants are covered for the winter

Covered for the winter are plants that do not tolerate frost. These include:

  • any conifers – they suffer from sunburn in the winter;
  • Rose hips and all roses except park roses;
  • chrysanthemums;
  • clematis;
  • hydrangeas;
  • barberry;
  • rhododendrons;
  • heat-loving trees – grapes, peaches, in northern regions – blackberries, raspberries;
  • any young trees.

What to do before covering plants

One to two months before the plants are covered, stop feeding them with nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen encourages rapid shoot growth so that the plant will not have time to harden and will freeze.

For the plants to survive the frost, the soil beneath them must be moist. So you should water them generously before covering them. It is also worth doing sanitary pruning – cutting off dry and diseased branches before covering them.

How to cover grapes, roses, and other plants for the winter – the best materials

Any type of plant cover must allow fresh air to pass through, otherwise, the plant will blot and die. Also, the branches should not touch the covering material. If these two rules are followed, the garden will easily survive the winter.

Here is a list of the most popular types of plant coverings

  • Agrovolok is the most popular and affordable material that you can buy at any agro-store. It is an excellent material that protects plants from moisture and frost and allows enough heat to pass through. First, a frame of pins or rings is built around the plant, and then the agro fiber is stretched over it. Agrovolok can cover the grapes by first gathering all the branches in one pile.
  • Spunbond is a good polymer material that is partially air permeable and keeps the plants from suffocating, and also protects well against frost. It is sold in large rolls. Spunbond is stretched over a frame. Good for covering large areas, such as strawberry beds.
  • Polyethylene well protects plants from frost and wind, has a long life, and is low price. The main disadvantage of the material is that it is not air permeable. In order for the plant not to suffocate, a small window is either cut in the covering or partially remove the film once a week.
  • Bagging is a cheap and effective material for covering. It is better to take bags with large holes. Jute sacks will work well. They are wound on sticks installed around the plant, and on top not tightly fastened the material with a rope.
  • Mowing is used only with the beginning of frost when the ground is already frosty. For mounding, a mound of about 30 cm is raked around the crop to protect the roots. In addition to soil, plants can also be mounded with spruce branches or soil with leaves. Mounding works well for short roses and chrysanthemums.
  • Mulching can be applied to cold-resistant plants such as peonies, daisies, carnations, hyacinths, daffodils, perennials in their second year or more, and trees over 3 years old.
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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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