Protecting Vulnerable Plants from Late Winter Weather

I’ve noticed a weird weather pattern over the last few years here in the UK. We seem to have had a somewhat mild winter with few frosts and no or very little snow and then suddenly just as our gardens are gearing up for March and the spring rush we are hit by ferocious storms and freezing temperatures. I mean who can forget the infamous “Beast From the East” of 2018 which was responsible for the deaths of almost 100 people throughout Europe – seventeen of whom perished here in the UK!

Well storm Ciara and the upcoming storm Dennis are continuing this pattern. The idea of this week’s article is just to remind everyone of what they can do to best protect their gardens from the worst effects of these late winter storms.

Make Sure To Secure

Check anything moveable in your garden is secured to the ground so that it cannot blow away. A short list of common items that springs to mind is:

  • Garden furniture
  • Potted plants
  • Awnings
  • Shelters
  • Greenhouses

Recently planted shrubs can be secured by putting rocks around their bases making sure not to crush them in the process!!

Cover Fragile Plants

A late severe frost has been the downfall of many a semi-tropical plant which will have been the pride of your garden! Shrubs such as fuscia bushes, callistemon (bottle brush) and fatsia japonica can be fatally damaged by frost. Protect these plants by covering in garden fleece which can be bought ready made to simply slip over your plants and tighten with draw strings as you can see in the featured picture. You can also use bubble wrap and even straw to protect the growing tops of tree ferns.

Spring Bulbs

Tulips, daffodils, crocus, muscari and hyacinths to name but a few will be pushing their first green shoots through the cold earth as they anticipate the onset of spring. A late cold spell can ruin their plans for a wonderful floral display if not completely definitely partially as frost damaged plants will not flower as well as undamaged ones. I advise using either a cloche or even just some transparent plastic sheeting to cover your spring flowering bulbs. Once again ensure that any covers are well secured with pegs, bricks and the like.

Camellias

If you have a camellia bush, chances are it will have started to bud and even flower by now. Newly planted camellias may be covered to protect them from frost damage until they become established. More mature bushes usually won’t need protection, unless something like this happens – this tree even brought down the lamppost!

 

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