How to Look After Your Garden in Cold Weather

There are certain measures you can take to help prevent your plants and garden from becoming damaged by frost and snow.

Before the cold weather arrives:

  • Tender plants should be either brought into the house or conservatory, close to the house for shelter or wrapped in fleece, depending on the plant and how resistant it is to cold temperatures. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website gives guides on how frost hardy plants are
  • Dahlia tubers should be lifted and stored upside down in a dark, dry and frost-free
  • Mow your lawn before the first frosts arrive
  • Check that your greenhouse heater works and you have enough fuel to get you through winter

During a prolonged cold spell

  • If temperatures drop, then check if this is likely to affect any plants in the garden. Lay fleece and / or pack with straw plants that could be damaged by these harsh frosts
  • If it snows, then make sure snow is shaken off conifers or other trees or shrubs that could get over-burdened with the weight of snow
  • Ensure your greenhouse heater remains on at all times
  • Observe whether you have any ‘frost pockets’ in the garden – areas that are colder than others or don’t get any sunlight. You can then plan to make sure plants in this area are the most frost hardy

Other things to try

  • Building of cloches or using cold frames can protect tender plants over winter
  • Tie-up or cut back trees or shrubs that could become damaged by snow
  • Think about having a greenhouse or potting shed if you have a lot of pots. This can then be heated to maintain above freezing temperatures to protect plants and pots (some plant pots are not frost-resistant)
  • Any plants in the garden that may get caught be a hard frost could be potted so that they can be easily moved to shelter should there be a prolonged cold spell