How beautiful is your garden? Grass cured, plants lush, flowers blooming and fragrant … here, this winter we end up forgetting. But your beloved garden needs some simple care even in the coldest season when you often forget that it exists and neglect it. We asked Valerio for some advice, our trusted gardener who already gave us some tips on the work to be done in the garden in the autumn. Take care of the soil.
The fundamental thing to do during the winter is to continue the work started at the beginning of the autumn station and take care of the soil that houses the turf. Your ally is the sun, with its light; the number one enemy is the humidity that you can fight with a few small tricks:
- Pruning hedges and deciduous plants: thinning out hedges and shrubs allows sunlight to filter more easily and reach the soil and grass, bringing its beneficial effect. Maximizing winter light areas is our mantra! In this season it is good to prune only the plants that lose their leaves, for evergreens, it is better to wait for the spring season.
- Do not step on the grass: it is the aspect that we neglect most. Winter grass is often wet, humid, covered by night frosts. By stepping on it, we risk compacting the soil on which it grows too much, thus preventing its growth in the spring season. It is also wrong to remove snow or ice with rakes or using salt: both can seriously damage the turf, better to let it melt naturally!
- Reduce irrigation: winter often brings abundant rain and humidity for our garden. Irrigation can usually be closed without problems, also preventing the system from being damaged due to the low temperatures that freeze the water inside the pipes. The only derogation is granted in the case of a particularly low season of rainfall whereby exceptionally it is possible to proceed with very limited irrigation.
- Eliminate stagnant water: it happens that in the colder season areas are subject to accumulations of water which, stagnating, can cause damage to the soil and the turf. A trick to avoid this is to drill holes in the ground to ensure good drainage.
- Avoid fertilizing the lawn: this activity can easily resume in the spring, doing it too early can encourage the growth of the grass and the effects of the damage it could suffer, with the risk that it will be ruined throughout the summer season. The only exception is given by the presence of moss.
Sometimes, even if we follow all the above advice to the letter, it can happen that something goes wrong. It is then that moss appears, one of the worst things that can happen to our turf 🙁
Fortunately, there are remedies: we can use special products to eradicate it and, once eliminated, use a small dose of fertilizer to help the grass to grow more luxuriant than before. When to do it? There is no precise rule, but it is good to act ahead of the first cut of the season.
The first cut of the grass
When do you start cutting grass again? The answer depends on how the winter season went and the temperature. If weather conditions permit, it is possible to make the first cut between late February and late March. A tip: do not cut the grass too low, 4-5 centimeters high can be enough and avoid the risk that the grass stops its growth too much.
Caring for plants and flowers
Plants and flowers deserve a separate discussion. If they are pot plants it is advisable to store them indoors, at home, in a garage, or in any case in a bright environment. If the place is particularly humid, the advice is to use a straw and put it in the pot above the ground to protect the plant. The same goes for the most delicate flowers, which fear the cold and low temperatures.
However, if you love having a flower garden even in winter you can plant flowers that are not afraid of the cold, such as violets, snowdrops or some species of graminaceous plants for decoration. If, on the other hand, you have a vegetable garden, or you intend to dedicate an area of your garden to a flowerbed flowered in the spring season, you can cover the ground with a protective nylon sheet to prevent too many weeds and moss from growing. As soon as the last colds are finished you can then sow your favorite flowers and vegetables.
Preparing the ground for spring: aeration
Even the turf can be best prepared for spring with aeration. This practice allows water (and, if you use it, fertilizer) to penetrate deeply and give new life to your lawn for the arrival of spring. How you do it?
- A “do it yourself” method is to drill holes in the ground with a pitchfork.
- The most effective method is to use a special tool, the scarifier, equipped with a motor.
This type of intervention is certainly more delicate and requires professional equipment that not everyone has in the home garage. This is why it is good to contact experts if you have never done so.