With the amount of snow Chicago has been getting, it’s hard to believe that we’re still technically in the fall season. We’re just a week from the official beginning of winter, and while winter might be the season you associate least with gardening, there are things you can do to nurture your plants through the rough winter conditions and prepare them for spring. Here is our simple list of most crucial winter gardening tasks:
1. A great time to prune.
The lack of leaves will make the pruning of trees and shrubs much easier and prepare them for renewed growth in the spring. Any branches that look dry and different from the rest of the plant probably did not survive the fall and should be removed. Pruning will also keep the plant healthier by leaving more nutrients for the remaining branches.
2. Plants still need watering in the wintertime.
Chicago winters can at times be extremely dry, so some watering can be helpful. To water plants effectively, water them when temperatures are over 40°F, when the ground is warm enough to soak up the water.
3. Use mulch to keep roots warm.
Mulch will provide your plants with valuable nutrition come spring, but it can also protect the roots of perennials, roses, and other sensitive plants from freezing completely. The mulch is great at trapping in whatever little heat is present in the soil from escaping, saving the roots from Chicago’s occasionally extreme winter temperatures.
These three simple tasks will keep your garden healthy through the winter season and give your plants a head start come springtime. But time can fly by quickly when working in the garden, so remember to bundle up before you leave the house!