5 Quick Plant Tips for Cold Weather
1) All newly planted lawn, plants and trees will require watering over the winter months. If you have new beds,lawn or trees just planted in the fall/winter, be sure to water once a week unless it rains and before a freeze (do not water plants in a freeze which will cause damage) to lower ground temps which provides protection from the harsh climate. New plants do not have established roots for water so if it is dry and windy, give them a regular drink. The best way to know if your plants, lawn or trees need water is to feel the soil. If it is dry a few inches deep, water them, if it is wet, don’t.
2) Use liquid seaweed on your plants a day or so before a freeze to protect them from extremes. Liquid seaweed is a cellular strengthener and can protect the plants leaves, stems and roots from freezing temps that can cause irreparable damage or death to new or tender plants. (again, never water plants while it is freezing)
3) Buy some row covers or use old blankets to cover new and tender plants or small trees especially citrus fruit. Wrapping your citrus or tender plants (cactus. agave and the like) in Christmas lights is also a great way to add a few degrees of warmth which can make all the difference.
4) Your established trees, perennial beds and lawn will go dormant over the winter months so if your sod and trees are established do not water over the winter, give your water bill a break and cut off the irrigation. However, even established beds and Xeriscape plants can do with an occasional watering so if we have a super dry winter, water your beds once a month or so to protect the roots of existing plants from freezing or below freezing temperatures.
5) DO NOT cut back dormant plants in the winter months (especially new beds). You can cut back your grasses in late January, you can trim your trees, shrubs and roses, (remember fruiting and flowering trees should be done after they bloom/fruit or you will lose potential buds and fruit) but leave your perennial plants and Xeriscape beds alone until the last freeze to allow the cover for the roots. Trimming perennials can send a message for them to begin to grow before the last freeze is past so be sure you wait until it is warm enough or until you see new growth.
Finally, enjoy your winter landscape and make sure to leave plenty of protection for nature. Birds and wildlife hide in the dried branches and leaves for protection from the elements, so spend your time enjoying each other and let the garden care for itself.