This winter has been a bit colder so far than the last few NC winters we have had, so here are a few things you can do to help your garden be at its best next spring.
- Don’t over-prune your perennials and grasses. Leaving at least 4-6” of the stalks at the base helps protect the crown from cold temperatures, reducing freeze damage. You can also leave the whole plant until early spring when new leaves start to sprout at the base, and then prune it back. This has the added benefit of leaving overwintering insects or eggs in place to increase beneficial insects for the following year. Butterflies, fireflies, native bees and many other beneficials overwinter in leaf litter and dead plant stalks.
- Leave your leaves! While leaves should be removed from lawn areas to keep turfgrass healthy, you can leave them in the beds to help insulate plants from the cold, provide cover for overwintering insects, and break down to add organic matter to the soil.