Wrapping Plants This Winter

No, we don’t mean wrapping them up as gifts! With the winter months well and truly upon us, it is import that we consider how our plants in the garden will fare during these freezing times. Tender plants can be cut back, lifted and then stored in a dormant state. Alternatively they can be protected with a covering of organic matter known as mulch. However, if it is not practical to lift or move tender plants then we recommend wrapping them up to protect them from the cold and wet winter weather. Even relatively hardy plants that are located in cold or exposed areas could use protection. If you believe that your plants could benefit from a little warmth this winter then we recommend using materials such as fleece, bracken, hessian, and polystyrene to insulate plants.

Wrapping shrubs

In their early years shrubs are more susceptible to colder temperatures so it is vital that they are protected if they frequently face cold weather. Simply construct a rigid frame or wigwam from bamboo canes around the plant and proceeded to pack around the shrub with bracken or straw. You should then cover it with netting and if wet weather persists then a temporary water cover must be created for the shrub. Wrap clear polythene over the whole structure to ensure it does not get rotten or wet. This method works particularly well for smaller specimens. For larger shrubs, we recommended surrounding them with a 2-3 inch layer of either straw or bracken. This should be sandwiched between sheets of netting. In very severe weather conditions we advise placing a detachable lid on top of the shrub for further protection.
If your shrub grows against a wall it can be packed with bracken or straw both around and behind the branches. If you wish to increase the protection of your shrub even further then we suggest fixing a batten to the wall above the plant with netting or fleece suspended from it; this will hang down like a drape over the plant and increase its chances in the winter months.

Wrapping tree ferns

If you are lucky enough to have a tree fern situated in a mildly sheltered area then it may be fine with a simple packing of straw over its crown and polystyrene cap to keep it sheltered from the rain. However, we recommend complete wrapping in colder areas. The trunk should be wrapped in fleece whilst the fronds should be tied upright with bracken or straw packing at the centre. The whole bundle should be wrapped in a double layer of horticultural fleece for the utmost protection. Finally we suggest that the root area is mulched with organic matter to ensure they are protected from the frost.

Wrapping Climbers

If you have tender climbers that are trained against warm walls to offer them protection we also advise packing their lower stems with bracken or straw. Hold this in place with fleece, hessian, or netting wrapped around canes and secure it with garden twine, wire or string.

To ensure your plants are successfully protected remove any damp debris from the bases of your plants as rotting could occur. To further prevent this and sweating, protective covers should be removed when extended periods of very mild weather are forecast. Make sure they are replaced as soon as the weather becomes cold again.