Raised bed with plants covered with a layer of mulch

How to prepare your garden for winter

Winter is a tough time for gardens. The cold weather, ice, and snow can damage plants and, in some cases, kill them. But with a little bit of preparation, you can help your garden survive the winter and come back strong in the spring.

Here are four key steps to take to prepare your garden for winter.

1. Prune dead or dying branches from trees and shrubs

Dead branches can become brittle and break during heavy snow or ice storms, which can cause damage to the plant or even kill it. So, it’s important to remove any dead or dying branches before winter arrives.

Hand holding scissors and pruning dead thuja branches.

2. Cover tender plants with a layer of mulch

Cover tender plants with a layer of mulch. This will help insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing solid during the coldest days of winter. You can use bark mulch, straw, or even blankets to cover tender plants.

Hands wearing gloves spreading brown mulch chips around hosta plants.
Covering plant with mulch

Just be sure to remove the mulch in the spring so that the plants can get sunlight and air circulation.

3. Bring potted plants indoors

Bring potted plants indoors. Potted plants are more susceptible to freezing than plants that are planted in the ground. So, if you have any potted plants that you want to keep alive over the winter, bring them indoors and place them in a sunny spot near a window.

Pink hyacinth flowers sitting on window seal.
Hyacinth flowers

4. Drain irrigation systems and hoses

If you have an irrigation system or hose attached to an outdoor faucet, be sure to drain them before the first freeze of winter. This will help prevent them from freezing solid and cracking, which could lead to expensive repairs.


By taking these four steps – pruning dead branches, covering tender plants, bringing potted plants indoors, and draining irrigation systems – you can help your garden survive the winter months and come back stronger in the springtime.