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Winterizing Your Garden

By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted October , 2017
GARDENING If you are one of the lucky ones who owns a personal greenhouse, or has access to one, there is not much to worry about with your potted plants this winter.  However, for the rest of us, there is a process to go through to winterize our plants, especially ones in containers.
Everyone knows winter in South Carolina can definitely be tricky for plants.  Personally, I like to be safe, rather than sorry, and presume that all winters will be chilly. When prepping the garden for winter, we have to consider not only our plants, but their containers, as many containers tend to crack with these cold, harsh winter nights.  Move all mobile container plants to shelter.
There are some folks who have large or heavy containers that cannot be moved.  They have to create a mini greenhouse over their plants using plastic tubs.  Anything breathable, even bed sheets, would work.  I would not suggest a trash bag because you cut off oxygen to the plant.  I would consider heavily mulching the plant with bark or leaves.  Even a good layer of compost is great to use.  I would also suggest heavy mulching of any young, new trees and shrubs within your landscape or garden.
I still lightly fertilize my shrubs and plants throughout the winter making sure the phosphorus is around a 10 level this helps the root system stay strong and get ready for the spring...while I fertilize my pansies with a higher nitrogen fertilizer liquid feed every two weeks, or so, to boost the blooms.  I also sprinkle a light layer of Osmocote for consistency.  You did not want to push bloom and top growth on plants that go dormant during the winter because that is the plant's sleeping time.

By the end of the summer, your perennials start to turn black and do not look as pleasant, so you might want to cut those back, at least, before Thanksgiving (roses and hydrangeas, and other woody perennials will not be cut back until late February).  

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