Prepare Your Garden for the Big Chill

frost garden

The colder weather has definitely arrived. If you’re a gardener, you’ll be concerned about all of your hard work being ruined by rain, wind, harsh frosts and snow. But with a little planning and some preventative measures, the plants, trees and shrubs in your garden can come back stronger and healthier than ever next year. Here’s how to prepare your garden for the big chill

Potted plants

Bring potted plants in to protect them from the frost, rain, and cold temperatures. Either put them in a greenhouse, or if you don’t have one, take them into your home. Be sure to keep them away from radiators and vents, and put them near a window where they can get some natural light. If you can’t bring plants indoors however, you can still protect them while they are outside.

To prevent the roots from freezing, wrap a hessian sack around the plant pots and secure it so it stays in place. For large plants pots, you might need to cover them in several layers to make sure they are fully protected. For extra insulation, you can add straw between the layers, and you can purchase covers from garden centres to protect the branches.

If the rain saturates the roots of the plants, this can starve them of oxygen. To stop this from happening, only use plant pots that have drainage holes.

Vegetable plots and flowerbeds

If you have a vegetable plot, put straw around it and on top of it to stop the ground around the vegetables from freezing. You can also put mulch around the roots of the plants to insulate them from the cold.

Use straw or mulch on top of flowerbeds and also around them to protect them from rain and frost.

Prepare your garden’s vulnerable plants

If you have fragile or tropical plants, it’s best to bring them indoors. They’ll need light and heat still, in a greenhouse or even a conservatory. Don’t allow them to touch windows as cold air from outside can transfer to the plant.

Protect vulnerable plants outdoors by wrapping them in horticultural fleece which is available from garden centres.

What to do about the wind

Wind can cause more damage to plants. Planting them in sheltered places will help, especially next to a permeated fence or hedgerow.

What to do about frost and snow

If frost is forecast, prepare your garden with frost protection covers, but if they are plants that need light, be sure to remove the covers during the day.

If it snows, use a broom to knock the snow off tree branches and plants before it freezes over. Snow can weaken branches and cause them to sag.

Sweep snow off your greenhouse roof so light can still get in. Try not to walk too much on grass that is covered by snow as you can flatten and damage it.

Plant hardier trees in your garden

Many of the trees native to UK have adapted to be able to survive in cold winter weather. Plant trees like elder and rowan that can survive the winter. Evergreen trees retain their foliage all year round so they can keep your garden looking pretty even in the winter months. Native trees also give wildlife a habitat.


If you have a greenhouse, remember the sun can still be strong in winter. So keep it well-ventilated through the day, but secure at night to keep the cold air out.

Follow these steps and you’ll give your precious plants and produce a fighting chance of surviving the winter so they’ll come back stronger than ever in the spring.

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