Even if winter does not reach its peak until the new year, the falling temperatures are already causing problems for many garden dwellers: Sensitive plants such as roses and camellias, young trees or many hardy potted plants are particularly susceptible to frost damage and must be protected from the increasing cold . The same applies to sensitive garden furniture and rust-prone garden tools, which should not spend the winter outdoors - and if they do, then only with appropriate protection. The tips and tricks you can use to get your garden through the cold season unscathed are summarized below.
You should mow your lawn for the last time this year by the end of November at the latest - after that it no longer makes sense, as you may even damage it if it has to survive the winter with its crop cut too short. It is best to set your lawn mower higher so that your lawn can catch enough sunlight even in the cold season and offers no surface for uninvited guests such as moss to attack. And even if you think you need to fertilize the grass again before the cold spell, experts advise you the opposite. Because the fact is: the nutrients can no longer be absorbed by the grass and thus only end up in the groundwater. Before the actual onset of winter, you should also collect the remaining leaves so that the lawn gets enough light.
Most perennials in the garden survive the winter without any problems and do not even have to be cut back. However, this does not apply to sensitive plants such as roses: their turbidity may only be shortened by a third to protect them from frost. You should then arm them against the cold with bark mulch or spruce brushwood. Hardy potted plants, on the other hand, can, as the name suggests, remain outside all year round - but they still need a little (frost) protection. With appropriate protective materials such as bubble wrap, garden fleece or styrofoam plates, you can winterize the plants: Wrap the plant with the foil, offer all-round protection with the fleece and the styrofoam is pushed under the bucket. After that, it is best to place the plants in a wind-protected place, for example in front of the house wall. Mediterranean potted plants that are not hardy should always be kept in the basement or garage over the winter, otherwise their root balls could freeze.
Before you dispose of the last leaves, you can also cover your beds with them - but first you should cut off all dead or withered plant remains. If there are no leaves left, you can also cover your flower and vegetable beds with garden fleece. But fresh compost is even better: it can mature over the winter and offers the plants an ideal breeding ground when they develop new shoots in spring. If you have an herb garden, you can also use fir or spruce branches to protect the herbs from the cold. If you want early bloomers (e.g. crocuses, tulips or daffodils) to overwinter in your flower bed, you must plant the bulbs in the ground before the first frost. Then you can usually survive the winter without any problems.
A rule of thumb says that trees and shrubs should be cut back in October. However, since the first real frost is still a long way off, you still have the opportunity: by pruning branches and twigs that are too long, leafless, dead or diseased from below, new shoots will grow back better and faster. With fruit trees, it is important to cut off the old branches directly at the trunk - preferably always over younger shoots. If you want to cut back your hedge, you can thin it out and make it smaller. As soon as the first frost sets in, it is important to stop pruning your trees and shrubs as the cuts will no longer close. You can also protect young trees with a lime coat, alternatively a jute cover or a reed mat will help against frost.
In winter, the fish retreat to the garden pond: More precisely, they fall into a kind of hibernation during the cold season so that their metabolism slows down and they can get by without food and little oxygen until next spring. Normally, the animals persevere in the deeper water layers, so that they are not in any danger if the pond freezes in the upper layers. However, if the water freezes completely, the fish can suffocate in it. You can minimize the risk by placing the winter on the water surface using an ice preventer, if necessary also with sinkers (in the case of permafrost) - it ensures that the pond cannot freeze completely. This is made possible by a styrofoam ring, which has an insulating effect on the water.
If you have an external water connection in the garden, you should protect the pipes from the first frost by emptying them completely - otherwise there is a risk that residual water will freeze in them, i.e. expand and cause the pipes to burst. It is best to close the main valve to the outside lines over the winter, then turn on the faucet in the garden so that the remaining water can flow out. To ensure that there is no more water in the pipes, you can open the drain valve in the second step to collect the remaining water.
The devices also have to be winterized to prevent them from rusting. Here it is not enough to simply store lawn mowers and the like in a dry place - instead, the garden tools should be thoroughly cleaned before winter sets in. Important: Disconnect electrical appliances first before removing loose debris such as foliage, grass and soil with your hands or a small broom. The first rust stains, on the other hand, are fought with steel wool and resin stains with benzine. You can also find further anti-freeze measures in the corresponding manuals for the respective devices, if you still have them.
Last but not least, the garden furniture should not be neglected. Even if most of the materials are quite winterproof, such as tables and chairs made of rattan or aluminum, high minus temperatures and the sun's rays make things difficult for them in the long run. It is best for the garden furniture if you store it in a cool and dry place over the winter - because wood in particular does not like too much heat if it spends the rest of the year in the garden. A basement or garage is therefore the ideal place for your garden furniture to survive the winter undamaged. Alternatively, there is also a special cover for outdoors that is waterproof and also weatherproof.
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