Wilmington, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article from the Wilmington Star News’ “Master Gardener” series on how to protect your plants during the cold winter months. Below is their coverage on how to avoid damage to your plants and to read how to provide extra protection for your plant containers, knowing your hardiness zone and determining how much damage may have been done to your plants click here!

“Pruning plants in late summer or early fall can make them more susceptible to winter injury because the new growth that results in response to pruning does not have enough time to prepare for winter. For this reason do not prune woody plants after midsummer, to ensure their new growth has enough time to harden off for winter. Applying nitrogen-containing fertilizers in fall or winter can also increase winter damage by encouraging tender new growth. Avoid putting out nitrogen fertilizers after late summer to reduce the possibility of winter damage. Also, do not apply nitrogen to lawns and landscapes too early in the spring. Slow-release fertilizers can be applied to landscape beds in March, but gardeners should wait until mid-April before fertilizing lawns.

Other nutrients help increase plants’ cold hardiness, particularly potassium, which is often referred to as potash. To find out if your soil is low in potassium, submit a soil sample to your local Cooperative Extension office for testing. Soil testing is free to N.C. residents and is the only way to accurately know which nutrients your soil needs. Potassium applied during the spring and summer will help plants survive winter.”

Learn more

If you have questions about protecting your plants from winter injury or how to help them recover, contact your local Cooperative Extension office. In Pender County, call 259-1235 or visit online at http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu and post your questions using the “Ask an Expert” widget.”