It’s March and while there’s still a ton of the white stuff on the ground, it’s natural for our thoughts to start drifting to warmer temperatures and spring gardening. But with at least a few more weeks of chilly weather ahead of us, it’s a good idea to examine how your plants, trees and shrubs are holding up to winter weather and take some measures to prepare them for the spring thaw.
Snow is actually good for plants as it keeps the ground (and roots) cold during their winter sleep. But you want to avoid piling up too much snow on top of your shrubs and perennials. Take care when clearing snow from your walkways and driveways. Melting snow is also good for plants, as it is absorbed by the soil. If you have hard, clay soil, this natural process won’t occur as effectively and you may need to take measures to improve the soil in the spring. Adding compost is a good first step.
As much as our gardens love sunshine during the summer months, too much sun can be hazardous come late winter/early spring. A cycle of freezing and thawing is one of the worst things perennials can endure so try to keep them shaded during sunny March days, especially when the weather forecasters are predicting freezing temperatures at night. You can use evergreen branches and gently prop up over rose bushes, shrubs and perennials on bright, sunny days.
If you love to garden, the Canada Blooms show will take place March 13 – 22 at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Visit www.canadablooms.ca for more information.
Here are some late winter chores you can tackle in preparation for spring gardening:
• Start planning your vegetable garden and purchasing seeds
• Pot new bulbs (i.e. daffodils, crocuses and tulips)
• Begin pruning your plants – almost all plants, trees and shrubs benefit from a late winter pruning while they are dormant.