The frosts that most of us will experience this month will help in breaking down heavy soils that have been dug over last month, but they can also loosen newly planted shrubs and trees, particularly roses. Do take time to check these plants and using your heel firm them back into the soil to ensure good contact and to stop wind rock later. Small alpines can also be lifted out of the soil by frost and so gently firm these back in as soon as possible, placing a light top dressing of grit on the surface to help drainage.
Below are just a few ways in which you can help to protect your shrubs and plants from the frost. However, there is no guarentee for protecting your plants especially in a very harse winter!
- Cover shrubs and plants with a protective layer overnight. You can use plastic bags, bubble wrap or horticultural fleece with the latter readily available at your local garden centre or nursery. Remember to remove the covers during the day so that the plant gets light and air.
- Protect the root systems of dormant plants by use either mulch or leaves and straw to cover the soil area.
- Water plants a good day or so in advance of a forecasted frost. During the day the moist soil will heat up and slowly release the heat on a cold night. Most damage is actually not caused by the frost but the thawing process.
- Plants in containers can be moved into a garage or greenhouse to help protect them over the winter months.
The above proventions must be in place before the frost hits to maximise the protection so always it a case of watching the weather reports!
Material courtesy of www.the-hta.org