When can I remove the winter cover from trees, shrubs and perennials?

How to prepare flowers and shrubs for winter

The blessed days of Indian summer not only give us the marvelous beauty of the autumn garden, but also allow us to prepare it for winter. How long the plants will overwinter, how we do the seasonal work depends on whether there will be a harvest of fruits and berries, whether we can protect them from diseases and much more.

It's a wonderful time of Indian summer. Photo by the author

A wonderful time of baba baba. Photo by the author

Experience shows that it is better to work in the garden in the autumn. The day becomes shorter, you need to have time to do a lot before the cold rainy days and the first snow. There is not a minute to lose, so we work according to a clear plan and in non-stop mode.

The autumn garden is buzzing with activity. We need to get there before the snow and frost. Author's photo

The fall garden is full of things to do. We need to get there before the snow and frost. Photo by the author

Herbaceous perennials

The preparation of perennials for the winter should be differentiated. Many of those that bloomed in the first half of summer (bells, delphiniums, irises, small elm, chamomiles, corraopsis, yarrow, monarda, veronica, verbenics, etc.), we have long recovered, we will see only See. Astilbe, peonies, late phloxes, hostas, bouzulines, wolfberries, Rogersia, ferns, clematis and ornamental grasses, clopogons, gleniums, celandine, perennial asters remain. But the most important thing is ahead.


We prune peonies in late fall, almost at the threshold of winter. At this time, their leaves naturally turn red and the bush sort of falls apart – a sign that it’s time to cut the above-ground part.

It's time to cut the peonies. Author's photo

It’s time to prune the peony. Photo by the author

  • A little clarification. If in summer peonies are affected by gray rot, which occurs with abundant rainfall, their stems are cut before the deadline to stop the outbreak of Botrytis (this is referred to as a disease).

Pruning peonies in late autumn. Author's photo

Pruning peonies in late fall. Photo by the author

Scaly .

Some varieties bloom until late fall; early varieties are already curling at this time. In general, the stems in the phlox should be gradually removed, so that there is no PE. Do not leave this work until spring. Immature phloxes carry disease-causing spores, so be sure to burn their stems.

Late phlox are pleasing to the gardener. Photo by the author

Late phloxes delight the gardener. Photo by the author

It will also be useful to treat the bush with ash, and then mulch with compost or humus. This will relieve the extra work in the spring, and the phloxes will have everything they need for a spring start. In addition, mulching will keep your root system from possible frost in the absence of snow when it does not.

Scales are treated with ash after pruning. Author's photo

The scales are treated with ash after pruning. Photo by the author

Astilbe and Volga.

Both astilbe and volga need pruning for the winter. If left untouched, there is a chance of damaging the renewal during spring pruning, which is undesirable.

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Astilbe needs pruning. Photo by the author

Astilbe need to be pruned. Photo by the author


Remove leaves from large specimens: after the first frosts, they turn into a slimy, mixed mass – a source of disease. We send the cut leaves to the compost.

Large hostas are better to cut off and send to the compost. Photo by the author

Large hostas are better to cut off and send to the compost. Photo by the author

But small miniature hostas are better not to touch. Their leaves are mummified and serve as additional protection from frost. Despite the fact that all hostas are fairly frost-resistant, additional protection will not hurt the little ones. And in the spring, those withered leaves show us the location of the plants.

Leave leaves on small hostas. Author's photo

For the little hostas, we leave the leaves behind. Photo by the author


From October to early November, it’s not too late to plant bulbs. Gardeners have come up with many interesting ways to place these wonderful plants. Read more about the different planting techniques in the article Bulb Gardening. The most incredible and challenging planting techniques. We also plant lilies. This summer they were staying with me in spacious containers, all that was left to do was mark them for permanent residence. You can read about the agronomy of lilies in the publication How to grow lilies and achieve beautiful blooms. The subtleties of planting and care.

Planting lilies according to all the rules. Photo by the author

Planting lilies according to all the rules. Photo by the author

Other perennial flowers

Before winter, we cut Rogers sissies, astilboides, darmers, as well as various types of bouzulines.

Pruning Przewalski's Busulus we did in late autumn. Author's photo

Przewalski’s bouzulnik cut in late autumn. Photo by the author

Finally, we remove late-flowering helenium, prominent stonecrop, black burdock, vines, perennial asters.

Clopogon (left) is a great decoration of the autumn garden. Beauty - paniculate (right) blooms until snow, perennial Aster italiana (below) takes the baton of flowering in late autumn. Photo by the author

Black burdock (left) is a great decoration for the fall garden. The beautiful window sill (top right) blooms until it snows, and the perennial Italian aster (bottom right) occupies the blooming easel at the very end of fall. Author’s photo The stonecrop blooms literally until the snow – it is cut last.

Snow on flowering otchits. Author's photo

Snow on the blooming stonefly. Photo by the author

What perennials should not be trimmed

Some perennials definitely should not be touched in the fall: it is contrary to their life cycle and can lead to their death. First of all, this is the evergreen Bergenia, whose elephant-ear-like leaves overwinter under the snow and decorate the autumn garden to the last.

Ledum winterum preserving its evergreen leaves under the snow. Author's photo

Bergenia overwinters, keeping its evergreen leaves under the snow. Photo by the author

Helleborus also feels well: as the name suggests, it does not care about frost. In the warm autumn, some even try to bloom, mixing up the seasons.

Frost blossoms blooming in warm autumn. Author's photo

Helleborus blooms in warm autumn. Photo by the author

Do not cut off the leaves and geichera, they serve as additional protection for their root system. These plants should be covered with compost, as they will rise above the ground in winter. It is not recommended to cut ornamental grasses in autumn: this will reveal the buds of renewal. But grasses do well in natural style flower beds in winter, so leaving them untouched is forgivable.

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We leave alone hotpot, stonecrop, Arabis, garden geraniums, young plants, primroses, lily of the valley, especially varieties. This also includes groundcovers – periwinkle, greengrocer, pachysandra.

These plants winter better without pruning: Samurai Honeydew (1), Daisy (2), Pachysandra (3), Garden General (4). Author's photo

These plants overwinter better without pruning – lungwort “Samurai” (1), geranium (2), pachysandra (3), garden geranium (4). Photo by the author

Apparently, in the same company there are also biennials (pansies, Turkish carnations, daisies, foxgloves), whose flowering we are waiting for next season.

We don’t cut the variety and forest ferns – they should be covered with dry foliage, just like in the wild.

Scolopendra fern (left) needs no touching; it overwinters under a light cover of leaves, as does Blunted fern (right). Photo by the author

The centipede fern (left) does not need to be touched; it overwinters under a light cover of foliage, as does the lapwing fern (right). Photo by the author

But we break out the dried ostrich branches, they serve us to protect other plants, such as clematis of pruning group II, whose stems need to be preserved until spring.

Dried thalia is a great covering material for clematis and other plants. Author's photo

Ostrich dried wyes make a great covering material for clematis and other plants. Photo by the author

You can choose planting material for your garden on our marketplace, which brings together major online stores. Check out the section on perennials for the summer apartment.

When do I remove the cover from the plants?

The warm days of spring have finally arrived, and with them the overwintering period of our plants is over. In the middle belt, careful covering of heat-loving plants for the winter will save them from death. But it happens that we make mistakes in the spring, and the wintering plant dies if it is not properly released from the shelter. In this article, we’ll go over when to uncover plants and how to do it correctly.

When do I take the cover off the plants?

When do I take the cover off the plants?

Basic rules for removing plant coverings

Spring has entered its rights, which means it’s time to think about how to bring plants out of winter mode and prepare them for warmer days. This process usually begins with the need to remove the burlap, framing, and other materials you used to save your flowers and shrubs during the cold weather. But when is the best time to do this?

As a rule, winter protection is removed from plants when the snow melts, the ground thaws and the threat of frost approaches. The main reference point is the date of the last frost on the weather forecast for your area. However, this can vary from year to year depending on the weather. Ideally, you should start clearing beds when average daily temperatures have been rising steadily for several weeks.

Don’t give in to the urge to remove covers too early when true spring weather causes snow to melt quickly. Spring warmth is deceptive. Winter often returns in late March or even April, and with it come snowfalls and a significant drop in temperature. So it’s best to be patient and let the plants take cover until the extreme cold is far behind.

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But sometimes spring does arrive earlier than expected. In this case, staying on the property is not recommended. If temperatures regularly rise above 15 degrees, it’s usually best to open up the plants so they can breathe. As soon as the snow has melted and the weather permits, remove all winter protection, as plants can suffer from the heat accumulated under the cones and insulation materials. In addition, the increased humidity that forms in such covers can increase the risk of certain fungal diseases.

If you do not remove the covering material from the plants in time, they may be at risk. The blossoming young leaves of the plant become discolored and can begin to rot. This also weakens the plants, making them more susceptible to insect damage. Leaving plants under cover for too long in warm weather can even completely destroy a shrub or tree.

If you don't remove the covering material from plants in time, they may be at risk.

If you do not remove the covering material from the plants in time, they could be endangered

Acclimatizing plants after removal from cover

Winter coverings should be removed carefully. Plants need some time to acclimatize to the changed temperature and light. Buds and buds that have burned or dried over the winter months under protective cover can change with an abrupt climate change, especially if they have spent the cold months under glowing materials.

If possible, remove protection on an overcast day or at the end of the day. If the weather is sunny every day, for example, learn the protection in the morning and evening and return as a screenshot in the lunchtime heat. But there are usually a lot of cloudy days in the spring, and you can choose the best weather.

Carefully remove the cover and try not to damage the budding plants. Then remove all garden debris from under the cover for the winter. Even if it is steadily warm, do not remove the cover too far. The weather is very unpredictable, so it is better to keep the insulation in hand and cover the system again in case of late frosts.

When the average daily temperature of + 10 degrees Celsius is established, remove the excess protective mulch and clean the base of the plant to reduce the risk of rotting the root neck (the place where the roots and trunk connect).

When can I open perennials?

It is best to remove last year’s leaves from flower beds as early as possible, as wet leaves are heavy, cancelled or affected by gray rot.

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I usually prefer and cover perennials up to frost zone 5 for the winter. I use mulch of grass clippings for this purpose. As soon as the snow comes off, I gradually turn into a RAK, that is, a kind of “volcano ventilation” in the mulch mound. And as I warm up, I make the hole wider and wider and eventually remove the mulch completely. This technique avoids rotting, but also protects when the weather returns.

Most perennials can be completely free of protection in mid-April if overnight temperatures have reached at least zero and the ground is melting to the depth of a spade’s bayonet.

Most perennials can be completely uncovered by mid-April

Most perennials can be completely uncovered in mid-April

When to remove protection from needlegrass and evergreens

Needlegrasses and evergreens are mostly already frozen, but they need to be covered for the winter as well. First, because of the devastating effects of the sun’s rays, which literally burn the needles reflected off the white snow. Thuias and junipers are usually covered for the first three years, but it is better to cover cyperus and permanently Canadian spruces.

Yellowing of the needles on one side (usually on the east or southeast side) indicates that the conifer has received sunburn because it has not been covered. There is no hurry to remove protective covers from conifers and evergreens. They are also not carried out on the same day, so that the plant gradually gets used to the light. If the needles are hidden on the floor to keep the roots out of the pond, the shelter can be lifted and ventilated to the shrub or tree.

The best time to remove shade placement from needle plants is after the snow has completely melted and the ground has warmed 15-20 centimeters. The first time the cover is removed for a few hours in cloudy weather or in the evening, with each day the time of opening increases.

Best time to remove shade covers from conifers

The best time to remove the shade cover from needle plants

When to remove protection from ornamental shrubs

Big hydrangea, Buddleia Davidica, Fortune’s birchwood, Syrian hibiscus, deitia, perineum and some ornamental shrubs that need protection in the Midwest can also suffer if the protective placement is not properly removed in the spring.

After the snow in the garden has completely melted, you should gradually aerate ornamental shrubs, but without completely removing the covers. If you have covered the shrubs with film or awning cloth, this should be done. If the plants are covered with non-woven material, such as spunbond, they do not need to be aired.

Until the soil is completely thawed to the depth of a spade’s bayonet, the branches should be in the shade so as not to get sunburn. If it is dry under the film cover, you should water the plant with warm water to wake it up. If the object is completely open, but there is a threat of frosts, it is not necessary to return the cover completely, you can throw an agrospan over it.

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When do I open the roses?

Sometimes it happens that roses have overwintered well and green twigs can be seen on them. But when the covers are removed, the branches darken and the bush dies completely. This is due to improper removal of the cover. Time for opening roses – when the snow is completely gone, the ground has thawed and warmed to the bayonet of the spade, and night temperatures do not fall below e-5 ° C. Daytime temperatures should be consistently positive (+10 – +15◦С).

Do not remove protection from rose bushes in one day. If you do, the shrubs could be severely affected by temperature, sunlight, and humidity changes

Do not remove the cover from the rose bushes every other day. In this case, the bushes can suffer greatly from temperature fluctuations, sunlight and humidity.

Do not uncover rose bushes every other day. In this case, the bushes can be severely affected by changes in temperature, sunlight and humidity.

The first step in opening the roses should be to ventilate. Raise the cover to let the moisture evaporate. After a few days, you can remove the covering materials and leave only the root cover, such as spruce branches or mulch. After another 3-5 days, remove these materials as well. For the first two weeks, it is best to protect open roses from too much sunlight.

Once you have removed the cover, wait a few days before cordoning off your climbing roses. Your rootstocks become more flexible when they are allowed to fully adapt to their new conditions.

It is best to wait around 10 days after stripping before pruning your roses. During this time, any buds that haven’t had time to make the transition will show signs of dying off.

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