We’ve certainly had some pretty cold weather over the past few weeks, with some parts of the country having seen quite a lot of snow and frosty nights due to the “Beast from the East” style weather making another comeback in early 2021. As a result of the prolonged cold conditions out there, there’s often not a lot we can get done outside in the garden, but now is a good time to check for any signs of winter damage in preparation for the new season ahead.
Our friends at Pots & Trowels have plenty of advice for keeping your garden protected from frost damage during the colder months. Read on to find out more and watch the video below where Martin Fish of Pots & Trowels breaks it all down.
Protecting Your Lawn from Winter Damage
It’s highly likely that the colder temperatures have left your lawn covered in frost and has frozen the ground solid. A cardinal rule therefore is to avoid walking on your lawned areas if possible as you could potentially damage the grass. Try to keep off the lawn for a few weeks until things thaw out and some milder weather arrives.
Checking Water Features for Frost Damage
Always keep an eye on any water features you have in your garden. Ideally, when you start to prepare for winter you should have turned off any pumps you have so that the pipework doesn’t freeze and cause any damage in the coldest winter snaps. If you’ve got a large water feature, it’s very unlikely that all the water will freeze as there is a large volume of it. However, it’s still important to check it regularly for any signs of frost damage. It’s better to catch a burst pipe whilst it is still frozen than when it has thawed!
If you’ve got a thick layer of ice resting on top of the water in your ponds, bird baths and other water features, then it’s worth giving it a the ice a push down every day to enable the birds in your garden to continue to access a water source.
If you’ve got a smaller outdoor water feature in your garden as the smaller the feature, the more susceptible it can be to damage from freezing temperatures. Make regular checks to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze solid because in a small feature, especially a plastic one, the ice can expand and can crack it, often damaging it irretrievably in the process. If you do need to thaw it for maintenance or repair, then do so by using a little warm water and make sure that you remove the pump. If you can, drain the feature off and take it inside for the remainder of winter. We might still get some very cold weather before spring, so it’s best to be on the safe side to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged so you can enjoy it again once the weather starts to pick up.
Protecting Garden Taps for Frost Damage
Outdoor taps especially are prone to frost damage at this time of year, so it’s important to keep them covered and insulated to prevent any leaks or burst pipes. You can use materials like polystyrene and bubble wrap around the pipe and the tap itself to help insulate and protect it. You can also buy foam pipework that slots over the pipe for a neater job. If you’re after a little DIY project you could take on the task of boxing in your taps, and cladding the interior and the pipework with some insulation inside the box.
Whichever method you use, it is important to keep the frost at bay, as even just a couple of degrees of frost is enough to freeze the tap and pipework and for damage to occur. For a belt and braces approach, you can also turn your garden tap off at the stop tap to stop any water from reaching the outdoor pipe. By only turning it back on when you need it, it will stop any water being left in the pipes that can then go on to freeze and cause damage.
Will My Potted Bulbs Need Winter Protection?
People often worry that any autumn bulbs they’ve planted into pots could be at risk from frost damage if the cold weather freezes the pots solid. So, the question gardeners often have is, do your bulbs need bringing in somewhere warm where they’re going to be out of the cold? The short answer is no.
If you’re growing winter hardy bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, iris, and snow drops, then they will be fine if they freeze solid. Spring flowering bulbs have the ability to freeze and survive, it’s almost as though they have a built-in antifreeze in them, so they won’t come to any harm. As soon as the weather thaws, they will carry on growing and will get flowers.
Now, with your frost damage checks done, it’s time to appreciate the promise of some lovely flowers to come and look forward to another year out in the garden.