I’m a gardening expert, here’s how to prepare your plot for the cold weather – if you don’t do this it will be ruined | The Sun

AS WE prepare to enter Autumn, it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable cold weather soon strikes the UK.

The Met Office has predicted a cold Arctic blast to sweep across the UK in the coming days, causing a drop to the average temperature as we slowly edge towards the colder months.

But before you worry about whether it’s time to get the heating on you first need to pay some attention to outside the house. 

Martine Le Gassick, gardening expert & creative director at Stark & Greensmith, has put together her top tips on how to prepare your garden for the colder season so it’s ready to thrive in Spring. 

Place plants in a cold frame & wrap up 

Cold frames can protect your plants from frost but remember to keep the frame closed at night.

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If temperatures drop lower than normal, try covering your cold frame with bubble wrap, horticultural fleeces or layers of newspapers as these will provide your plants with extra warmth, helping to reduce any frost damage.

Cover with permeable cloche, tents and other soil covers

Frost damage occurs when ice crystals form inside the tissue of plants, causing it to split and leach away essential nutrients. 

To avoid this, place plants inside permeable cloches and cover the soil to insulate them. This allows the plant to ‘breathe’, whilst reducing the chance of losing nutrients from leaching.  

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Bring potted plants inside 

Potted plants are more susceptible to frost damage. This is because they don't have any insulated benefits from the ground. 

We recommend you to bring potted plants inside as cold weather can kill or dramatically slow down plant growth. 

The best time to bring plants inside is when nighttime temperatures start to dip below 12-15 C. Aim to bring plants into warmer climates such as conservatories, porches and greenhouses.

Add dry mulch 

Chipped bark or straw are good options to insulate plants in winter temperatures from freezing and thawing. 

Not doing so can cause shallow rooted plants and bulbs to lift out of the ground. Mulching can also reduce soil erosion that can commonly follow heavy rain during wet months. 

Keep plants in sheltered spots 

Look and identify the warm spots of your garden and areas with a reduced air flow, ideally along the house or against a fence or wall. 

Heat that radiates from the house and the reduced air flow that comes from being against a surface will protect them from the most severe cold, keeping your plants alive for longer during the winter period. 

Add windbreaks 

Windbreaks lined with a garden fleece, garden screens or additional hedging are a great way of protecting young and weak plants from strong winds.

Strategic placing of windbreaks with fleece netting can also help insulate them.

Improve drainage 

Drainage problems should be dealt with promptly, as waterlogged and wet soil can make young or shallow rooted trees more likely to uproot, as well as depriving the roots of oxygen, causing them to die.

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Limit feeding your plants 

Avoid applications of nitrogen-rich fertilisers late in the season, as they stimulate sappy growth in plants that is susceptible to damage in colder conditions.

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