Beat the Cold: How to Prepare Your Plants for Winter


As winter draws nearer and the weather gets colder, it’s time to start thinking about how to protect your plants from the long cold winter months. There are a few things you can do to make sure that come spring, your landscape comes back to life. 

Insulation Techniques

Mulching with a hardwood mulch, pine fines or similar will help protect the root system of plants like acting as a blanket and giving the landscape a well groomed look.  Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch to evenly cover the root ball (typically 2 - 3 feet out from the trunk) to cover and protect vulnerable roots,

For sensitive plants that need serious winter protection such as Butterfly Bush, Hybrid Tea Roses, etc.  Use materials such as shredded leaves, straw, wood chips, and even soil mixture of these to protect roots from the winter elements.  Use collars made of cardboard or plastic to hold loose materials in place. Avoid styrofoam covers as they can insulate too much and cause plants to break dormancy during winter warm spells.  

Tender plants, roses and many shrubs should not be covered until temperatures are consistently below freezing for three weeks.

Burlap is another useful tool to use for insulation. Made of natural fibers, burlap is a great material for wrapping evergreens and other shrubs that need protection from the elements. It’s also the best material to use in creating screens to protect plants from winter winds and snow or salt damage.


As crazy as it may sound, snow is the final layer of insulation that can really protect your plants from the cold elements of winter. If you have mulched your beds and more sensitive plants, the snow that falls in the winter will provide an additional layer of insulation against the cold.

Other Techniques

Spraying broadleaf and most other evergreens with an anti-dessicant before hard frost and during any winter thawing periods helps to avoid loss of moisture through the leaves they retain year-round.  Wilt-Stop, a natural product derived from pine trees, coats shrubs and trees and reduces the drying effects of winter.

Getting ready for winter doesn’t have to detract from the aesthetic of your outdoor living space. Evergreen branches cut from the bottom of your Christmas tree or purchased in bales can be used effectively to protect perennials and make your winter landscape more pleasing to the eye.

There are lots of ways to protect your plants from the cold this winter, and Lurvey Home & Garden Center has all of the products and access the expertise you need to make the transition to winter as seamless as possible. 

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Halina Swiontek wrote:
What's best insulator for Roses?

November 20, 2017 @ 9:48 AM

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