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Tips To Get Your Garden Ready For Winter

Early snow caught many Milwaukee gardeners — and their plants — off guard.";s:

The cold weather that settled in earlier this month was unexpected for people and gardens. Snow came unexpectedly while people were still dealing with fall cleanup, which didn't allow for regular winterizing of gardens. However, there's still work that can be done.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers first recommends getting fallen leaves that may have been covered by snow and frost raked up before the deep freeze really sets in.

"Anything we can do to get them off our lawn is a good thing because those big leaves, they'll be wet, they'll mat down, they'll block the sunlight, trap moisture and increase the risk of disease," she explains.

It's also time to take pots into the garage or insulate them for the winter.

Myers says if there's a break in the cold temperatures, it's important to tie up any flowers or trees with frail limbs that could be weighed down to prevent breakage when covered in snow. But she cautions to wait until it's warm.

"If the plants are frozen and you move them around, you're going to have some cracking and damage. So, sometimes we do more harm than good when we try to intercede," notes Myers.

If you didn't have time to cut back your garden, Myers says leaving it long over the winter could be beneficial. Pruning and mulching can also wait until things thaw out in the spring. If you didn't get to water as much as you like, Myers says there was enough rain this fall to get plants through the winter.

"This is a good chance for procrastinators to procrastinate a little longer," Myers says.

Becky Mortensen joined WUWM as the Executive Producer of Lake Effect in November 2019. She has lived in Milwaukee since 2012.
Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine.