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Winter Plant Care for your WDC Garden

As we head into winter chances are you’ve taken care of autumn yard chores by now. But there’s still plenty to do in December and January to keep your garden in good health. With a bit of prep work and planning your garden will be ready for a blooming spring.

Pruning is often one garden chore which is hard to get right. When do you prune and how much? Once the first frost has arrived many plants start to go into their dormancy stage for the season. Once this happens, they are ready to be pruned. A dormant or sleeping plant won’t react to the stress of pruning, the lower the shock to your trees and shrubs the better.

Where to prune depends on the type of plant. Older, dead or dying branches on deciduous trees should be cut back, as should ‘sucker’ branches on fruit bearing trees. These are branches that grow from the base of a tree straight up toward the crown and are unproductive.

Perennials plants and bushes should be cut back down toward the base to allow for new growth to come in the spring. Evergreens need not be pruned, as they don’t go into a dormant stage, pruning them can cause more damage than help. Instead leave these as they are. If you need to trim an evergreen to keep growth in check, wait until the spring.

Protecting your plants will help them weather the worst of winter. Place a layer of natural mulch, such as wood chips or hay, along flower beds and around shrubs to help keep soil temperatures stable, and on the colder side. This is a good thing in terms of keeping plants dormant until winter passes. Sudden fluctuations in temperature can wake plants up too early, if the cold returns, non-dormant plants may be damaged.

Some plants also need more protection from the weather directly. Cover potted plants such as Dahlias, Rhododendrons and any citrus plants with burlap for an extra layer of insulation. For rose bushes, pile up a mound of dirt around the base between 1-1.5 feet high, a plant collar can help keep the dirt in place.

Chances are we’ll see some snow in the WDC area this year. Anytime this happens, it’s an incredible sight to see’ there’s nothing like the peaceful quiet of a garden blanketed in snow. While your garden may be a perfect picture of winter once the snow falls, it’s best to clear the snow away as soon as you can.

Remove show from tree branches and the tops of bushes, as too much weight can cause stress or distort limbs. Go ahead and leave snow of the ground though, as this is another great layer for insulation.

Find more tips for garden care in December with this article at Gardenista. If you’re ready to buy or sell your home call the Realtors® who love where they live and understand the local real estate market through experience.  is pleased to serve the communities in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. We’re here for you from start to finish. Give us a call at (202)596-8101 or email us at [email protected].

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