Now’s the time when gardens can be affected when there are seasonal gales. So when the wind gets up, use these ten fair-weather ways to wave wind worries goodbye and keep your garden looking great.
If your young garden trees are exposed to heavy winds, fear not. You can protect them from gusts and gales using stakes and ties. Any newly planted trees will need some added support but take a look around the garden for even established trees which may need staking against prevailing winds. Fix to the stake with tree ties, one at the bottom and one at the top, or use old socks or tights if you are out of tree ties—which can slightly stretch so as to not limit growth.
Walk the perimeter of the garden to work out weak points in your fence panels. If one goes down, it can lead to the others following quickly and could change the dynamic of wind in the garden too, taking it in to unprotected areas. Finding a weak point before wind hits can save you hundreds of pounds and protect your plant borders from being bulldozed by a falling fence. Take a moment to stain the fence during dry weather to prolong the timber’s life.
Containers are vulnerable to wind damage as they dry out quicker. However, their one advantage is that they can be moved out of harm’s way. Tuck containers away under the eaves of your home over winter and not only will the structure of the building keep wind from wreaking havoc, but the heat of your home helps protect against the cold too. Else, horticultural fleece – used for frost protection – will keep leaves toasty warm and safe from wind scorch.
Tall plants in pots are more likely to be knocked over in windy conditions, so grouping them together ensures that they’re protected and don’t domino over.
Shake off salt
Winds near the coast carry salt, making leaves appear burnt. Even if you live a few miles inland, you may struggle with this problem in your garden. Eucalyptus is hardy and tolerates salt winds extremely well, as does Artemisia and Euonymus. Just make sure to increase the amount of water that you give plants subjected to heavy air movement, as it dries them out much quicker.
Shed the heft
Overgrown tree foliage can be at risk, as it’s a bigger surface area. Trim it back so that there’s not too much weight in the head and this more streamlined structure will be less likely to thrash around and break off branches in a storm.
Windbreaks & barriers
Windbreaks and barriers reduce wind speed and provide shelter for plants. High ground, trees, hedges, fences or buildings can all be used for this.
The idea is not to stop wind altogether with a solid surface, but to reduce the strength to about 50% through a semi-permeable surface; planting trees or dense shrubs are great for this.
Some plants have natural protection against whistling winds and can also provide cover from any tender growth nearby. For this, you need plants that are strong-rooted. Go for beech, laurel, hornbeam, or privet. Bushy, dense foliage like this will create a defensive screen—it’s good for nesting birds too.
Any damages to structures will be worsened in windy weather. A cracked glass pane in the greenhouse can quickly break and cause damage. It’s best to get these taped up, covered or replaced as soon as you can. Checking the felt on the shed roof is always an idea. Sometimes all it takes is one or two more tacks to keep it in place rather than having to replace the lot.
Newly-planted plants, especially roses, are susceptible to rocking back and forth in the wind. This causes damages to the new root systems and can slowly wiggle them out of place. When planting, firm them in well and use small bamboo stakes pushed through the rootball into the ground to keep them braced and stuck in place.
Hanging baskets are prone to swinging and this can uproot the contents of the basket, causing damage to the plants. Double-check that these are secured or taken down in turbulent weather, especially if they’re situated near to a window where they could swing right into the glass and damage it.
Cover all bases
Any coverings you have in the garden should be tied down to stop them bellowing in the wind. You might have horticultural fleece over tender plants for frost protection, a BBQ cover, or wrappings for your garden furniture that needs a few more pieces of garden twine to attach it in place, or you can use bricks to weigh down on top of surfaces.
Test whether your own seed packets
are still able to germinate by sowing a trial batch
onto damp kitchen roll.
So, during the windy season, don’t let garden plants take a real beating. The winds of change are here, and these tips will keep plants in prime condition when winds come a ‘howling.
Happy gardening everyone!
I’m thinking of making over my garden; how can I get ideas?
Collect old gardening books, magazines and newspapers and cut out what you like the look of. It may be bits and pieces from several designs—trees, a hammock, or a summerhouse, but it will help you understand what your desires are. Fix these to your kitchen fridge using magnets and it’ll spark inspiration for getting started on a plan.
Should I harvest all my kale at once to make room for spring sowing?
Kale is ready to harvest now and just in time too! Many other crops have finished and stored veg stocks may be depleted, so snap off the lowest kale leaves first and keeping the central shoot in place will keep the plant producing leaves for a few more months. Freeze any leaves you can’t finish, and they’ll last up to this time next year.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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