Southwestern Ohio winters are impossible to predict. We can range from a low of 15 degrees above zero to a low of 15 degrees below zero. We can receive no snow or 18” of snow. The best way to care for your perennials is to be prepared for the worst!
Keep in mind that there are some perennials that are practically evergreen. Shasta daisies, coralbells, armeria, candytuft, creeping phlox, dianthus and some groundcover sedums are a few. They are wonderful to see during the cold gray days…. adding a bit of color to the garden.
There are different practices concerning cutting back all perennials for winter. Some gardeners like to cut it all back, have everything neat and tidy looking and ready for spring. Other gardeners like to leave something standing in the garden so it does not look so forlorn in the winter and the birds we are trying to attract to our feeders have a place to shelter themselves. Either way works fine.
Drought is possible in the winter as much as in the summer, and can be just as damaging. Plants can die if the soil freezes while it is dry. Watch the weather throughout the fall and early winter and water your beds as needed. Don’t forget to unhook your hose as night and drain it so it won’t freeze.
Once the ground has frozen, throw mulch or compost on top of the beds. Shredded leaves from your trees work well as does the boughs of pine and spruce so readily available after the holiday season. Covering the beds after they freeze will prevent the soil from thawing and refreezing during the rest of the winter. The constant soil heaving can damage the plants.
Mulch should not be removed too early in the spring or your plants will begin to grow too early and may be damaged. Watch the weather and if in doubt, call Siebenthaler’sGardenCenterand we will help decide if the time is right!