Over the last few years, people in America have been making the most of their home's outdoor space. For example, 90% of Americans say they have spent more time in their gardens relaxing, working out, and socializing with friends.
However, if you are going to enjoy your garden, you need to take good care of it. This doesn't just mean planting your favorite flowers in spring. Caring for your garden correctly in winter lays the foundation for healthy plant growth when spring comes around.
In that case, your new best friend is a good pair of garden shears! So how should you use your garden shears to prepare your garden for winter? Knowing which plants need pruning and which can survive the winter will ensure that your hard work over the summer months is well-spent.
If you're among the 18.3 million new gardeners in America, read on to find out everything you need to know.
Winter is the perfect time to cut back all your summer and autumn-fruiting raspberry canes.
This protects the stem of the canes during the winter, so they are ready to grow again in the spring. So by the summer months, they will be in the perfect condition to produce raspberries.
Wait until all of your canes have borne their fruit. Then you should shear each raspberry cane so that 2 inches of the stem is left above the ground.
Summer-fruiting raspberry canes proliferate and can take up a lot of space. Because of this, you should remove excess canes from your raspberry patch.
Try to leave six of your most vigorous canes in each square foot of your patch. This will leave you plenty of raspberries to pick when summer comes around!
You can also trim back your fruit bushes during the winter months. This doesn't have to involve a drastic change.
Get rid of any old wood and leave your most vigorous branches in place. This will give them more room to grow and produce an impressive harvest.
Some perennial plants and shrubs are hardy enough to survive the winter without any input from you.
Coneflowers and rudbeckia, for example, won't need pruning until springtime. So leave their seedheads intact—the local birds will enjoy this food source over the winter.
However, some perennials can spread diseases, such as powdery mildew, during the winter months, so you will need to cut them back. This includes:
Make sure you cut these plants back at the right time. Wait until there have been several hard frosts. These should kill the foliage on your plants.
Once the foliage has died, cut back the plants leaving 3 inches of stem above the ground. Then, put a thick layer of mulch around the stems to protect them through the winter.
Most clematis flowers only need tidying up after they have flowered. However, Group 3 Clematis flowers are a little more high maintenance. This group includes Texensis and Viticella hybrids.
You should wait until February to cut these flowers back. This means the weather will have already warmed up when newer shoots come through.
Cut your plants back so four inches of each stem remains above the ground. This will remove long, older growths and create space for new shoots.
During the winter, some trees and shrubs become dormant, making it the perfect time to cut them back with your garden shears. However, you should check which type of trees or shrubs you have before doing this.
You can cut back deciduous trees and shrubs during the winter. For example, you can trim oak trees and summer-flowering shrubs during February.
November through March is also the best time to cut back apple and pear trees. Use this time to remove dead wood, cut back crisscrossing branches, and shape your tree. This will improve your harvest in summer.
However, other trees and shrubs will respond poorly to winter trimming. This is because pruning trees and shrubs expose the tissue within the plants.
In warm months, this can stimulate new growth. However, more recent parts of your plants and shrubs take time to harden up. The new parts of the plant will survive if they can do this before the cold arrives.
Because of this, you should trim your tree in late winter and early springtime. This means the weather will be warm enough for newer, vulnerable shoots to survive.
Wisteria needs pruning twice a year, once in December and once in the summer. This gives you a chance to shape it and promote new flower growth.
However, your pruning technique should be different in December and summertime.
In December, you need to cut back all of the side shoots. Shear them back, leaving three or four buds on each node.
This will promote new growth in the spring and means your wisteria won't get too wild before its summertime trim!
A lot of roses can be trimmed back in the winter to encourage summertime growth.
When shearing roses, focus on removing thinner, weak stems and avoid cutting too much from your thick, healthy branches. Depending on what you think looks best, you can leave between 5 and 18 inches of rose stems above the ground.
It is essential to check which type of roses you have before pruning them in winter. Hybrid teas, shrub roses, and climbing roses are all hardy enough to survive winter pruning. In contrast, you should cut back rambling roses in the last summer months.
As you can see, what you do with your garden shears during the winter can considerably impact your garden throughout the year. So it is crucial to time your pruning carefully.
Keep these winter tips in mind, and you can't go wrong.
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