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Preparing for freezing temperatures key for vegetation during winter

As the colder winter temperatures work their way into the area this month, placing attention on outdoor plants is important to ensure they see no issues as the mercury drops.

Keeping an eye on plants and crops is important to ensure one’s vegetation makes it through the winter and is ready to thrive again once the warmer spring weather comes around.

A lot of the care comes down to preparedness, according to Elaine Fagin, Community Horticulture Educator with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

“You want to make sure, weeks ahead of knowing the cold weather is coming, that you don’t fertilize,” Fagin said. “You don’t want plants to be actively growing while they are freezing because that’s not good. Just wait until early spring to resume that.”

Keeping plants insulated, which varies from plant to plant, is one simple method to keep vegetation in order over the winter months.

“For sensitive plants you can cover it with burlap and let it wait out the winter,” Fagin said.

Fagin stressed that whatever material you cover your plants with, never use plastic. Breathability is key when choosing a vegetation cover.

Even the low-maintenance cactus has special care instructions in the winter, as the plant carries a specific concern.

“You have to make sure that they’re not overwatered, because if you give them too much water, then they’re more likely to freeze,” she said.

For those who have their own gardens at home, growing produce, there are a few steps to take to give your produce its best chance at surviving the winter.

“If you’re growing vegetables or things that you know are sensitive to the cold weather you can cover them with a light blanket at night, but take it off during the day,” Fagin said. “If you have citrus in pots, you can move them into a more protected area. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving it against the house, you don’t necessarily have to bring it indoors.”

Water schedules vary during each season and with winter Fagin said the amount of time and how often one waters are important.

As far as everyday bushes, keeping them in order over the winter usually requires minimal work compared to that of other plant varieties.

Fagin explained that trimming plants and produce also have their specific techniques to keep them healthy in the winter.

“It’s really important when you’re going to trim them,” she said. “A lot of time what I will do is if I have a plant that is dropping its leaves, I will leave the leaves on the ground. It doesn’t look really pretty, but leaving the leaves on the ground does provide some protection for the roots, acting as a mulch, it helps protect the roots a little bit.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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