Protect outdoor container plants
February is traditionally one of the coldest months of the year and now is a good time to protect any outdoor containers if you haven’t already done so.
In prolonged freezing weather, the root ball in the pot is likely to freeze which can harm or kill the plant, especially if the plant is borderline-hardy. Damage is usually worse on evergreen plants as they are unable to take in water when the roots are frozen but moisture continues to be lost through their leaves which can result in them dying from dehydration.
Just a little protection to the roots can usually see plants through cold spells unharmed. Bringing container plants undercover is the best course of action but if this isn’t possible, there are a few options for protecting your plants:
- Hanging baskets in exposed areas should be taken down and protected in very cold weather or covered over with a fleece bag which gives a little frost protection and prevents wind scorch
- Container plants should be grouped together in a sheltered spot by a sunny wall and the pots insulated. Hessian is perfect for this and can be wrapped around the pots and packed in the gaps between them
- Drape a couple of layers of garden fleece over evergreen foliage. Deciduous plants are normally fine left exposed
- Complete any winter digging and spend some time adding compost to beds and borders using the Stainless Steel Digging Fork
- Use a Dutch Hoe to remove weeds from borders and vegetable beds to prepare the areas for sowing and planting
- Begin sowing vegetables such as broad beans, carrots, onions and peas
- Keep turning your compost heap to speed up decomposition and prevent it from drying out
- Use long-handled loppers such as the Telescopic Anvil Loppers to prune out any dead or diseased shoots from shrubs
Products to use this month: