Once soil temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the biological activity within the soil will significantly slow down. The lifeforms within the soil will hibernate through the winter. During winter, the soil is not expected to improve or change, yet it can if it’s given a little help. Read on for techniques that can help you build up your garden’s soil in winter.
Wait to Cultivate Your Garden Soil Until Next Spring
Toward the end of the summer season, the soil may feel extra loose and crumbly. That is because it is full of the summer “crop” of fungal hyphae and mycelium. These microscopic threads will slowly rot through winter, along with any roots left behind by vegetables and weeds. If you were to try to cultivate your garden soil in winter, you would upset the natural processes that nourish the soil. It is much better to mulch over vacant beds without cultivating them first.
Use Winter Mulch
You can easily rake fallen leaves over your garden soil to help protect it from the ravages of winter. Many other mulch materials also work in protecting your soil in winter. Wood chips are an increasingly popular mulch material for gardens.
Tolerate Those Winter Weeds
Common winter weeds help protect the soil from erosion. Other winter weeds such as dandelions, bittercress, and others will drill deep into the soil with their taproots, which helps to improve soil drainage. To prevent winter weeds from reseeding, hoe them down in early spring, rake up the greens and compost them.
Wake Up Your Garden When the Soil Temperature Rises in the Spring
Garden beds sitting vacant until spring can be covered in compost. When the soil temperature rises above 45 degrees, incorporate the compost and any weeds into the soil profile. The bed will benefit from a deep layer of compost at the surface. Incorporating the organic matter into the soil will enhance the microbial activity and nutrient supply for the summer.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!