Winter weather can vary from year to year in Seattle and the Eastside. Weather patterns on specific day can also be dramatically different depending on your location, as weather at a home near Lake Washington may considerably warmer and less windy than in a garden in North Bend. Here are a few tips that you can adapt for your own gardening needs. Of course our friendly, experienced staff is always happy to share our local gardening experience with you throughout the year.
1. Insulate your containers. In addition to pulling your containers closer to your house, wrapping the pot with bubble wrap or a blanket is a wise idea during a deep or prolonged freeze. This insulates plant roots and protects them from winter damage.
2. Water, if soil is somewhat dry, before a freeze occurs. Plants will drink water if temperatures are around 40 degrees F or higher. When it freezes plants become dehydrated, in the same manner that they do during the heat of summer. Dehydration may lead to winter burn on leaves or root damage. Remember plants under the eaves or a covered porch are likely not getting sufficient rain water to keep them properly watered.
3. Mulch is magic. Our winter freeze and thaw cycles confuse plants. Plants sometimes do not remain fully dormant and are then more susceptible to freeze damage. Place a 3″ layer of mulch over your existing moist soil to protect your plants. This protective blanket helps plant remain dormant, as the mulch insures the soil does not warm to quickly, nor freeze too deeply. Remember to mulch lightly under rhododendrons and azaleas. Also wet areas of your garden should not be mulched too heavily as it prohibits the solid from drying out properly.