Winter garden maintenance: protection against frost and rodents

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Winter can present many unpleasant surprises for gardeners if measures are not taken in time to protect the trees. Severe frosts can lead to the freezing of young seedlings, and mice and hares will happily nibble on the bark of trees and shrubs. Let’s see what can be done to prevent these troubles..

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Protecting the garden from frost

For a better understanding of the freezing process, it is necessary to understand what cambium is. Cambium is a transparent, slippery layer that can be seen between wood and the bark of any tree. Cambium is a so-called building material that plays an important role in the development of a young seedling. The health of the tree and its ability to give good yields depends on its structure and quality. That is why it is so important to protect the cambium from various types of damage and, above all, from frost. When severe cold weather suddenly sets in, frost holes can form on unprepared trees, that is, damage to the cambium in certain places.

Frost holes most often appear on trunks (boles), since the winter hardiness of this part of the tree is always much lower than that of the crown. Damage to the cambium can also occur at forks of branches, especially if they are located at an acute angle.

It is not easy for a frostbite to notice; the bark can remain in the damaged area for two to three years. This is dangerous because for the next winter, even with less cold weather, the frost damage can greatly increase. Therefore, in the spring after severe frosts, it is necessary to carefully examine the bark in order to be able to take action in time, since the increasing frost holes will sooner or later lead to the death of the tree.

To protect the trunk from freezing, it can be completely sprinkled with snow, which is a natural insulation and will not allow even strong cold to damage the cambium.

However, winters are not always snowy. In this case, tree trunks must be wrapped in various breathable materials. For these purposes, you can use newspapers, thick cotton fabric, burlap and the like. In no case should you wrap the trunks with polyethylene, since under it the tree will simply freeze. Experienced gardeners recommend tying young seedlings with coniferous spruce branches over newspapers, which they tie down with needles. Such protection will protect the plant not only from the winter cold, but also from unexpected guests – mice and hares..

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Not only trunks, but also the root system of fruit trees must be protected from severe frosts. This is especially true in late autumn or snowless winters, when severe cold can occur in the absence of a thick snow cover..

Mulching the tree trunk circle with various materials – sawdust, fallen leaves, well-ripened compost, peat chips – helps to effectively protect the roots. At the same time, the layer of mulch should be at least 6–8 centimeters; it must be laid on slightly loosened soil. You can insulate the root system by simply covering the trees well with earth..

When preparing a garden for winter, it should be remembered that it is necessary to start work on insulating boles upon the onset of small but persistent frosts. If such work is carried out early (in September-October), then a greenhouse effect can be created under the insulation, the trunk begins to heave and peel off, the surface layer of the bark is damaged, which significantly reduces the frost resistance of the tree.

It is necessary to insulate for the winter not only trees, but also shrubs. Small bushes and young seedlings of fruit trees can be completely covered with breathable material or tied with coniferous spruce branches, as mentioned above. It is recommended to mulch the soil under the plants, or to huddle the bushes higher. If it is dry autumn, then the ground must be watered. Damp soil freezes much more slowly than dried out by cold winds.

Protecting your garden from rodents

In winter, fruit trees and shrubs can be harmed not only by severe frosts, but also by rodents – mice and hares, which in search of food make their way closer to human habitation. The harm caused by these animals often leads to death, especially this concerns young plants. Hares eat large and completely gnaw through thin branches, mice can gnaw parts of the bark with a ring around the entire branch. Such circular lesions are especially dangerous, since they lead to disruption of sap flow, the tree does not receive the necessary nutrients and dies very quickly. Experienced gardeners know many ways to defend against these “intruders”. Let’s take a closer look at the most effective ones..

How to protect your garden from mice

Today there are two main ways to protect the garden from rodents – mechanical and chemical. The essence of the mechanical method is that the trunks and branches are tied with various materials. It is best to use for these purposes coniferous spruce branches and special nets to protect against rodents, which can be bought in specialized stores..

Some use roofing felt or roofing felt for strapping, applying the canvas tightly and slightly deepening it into the ground. It should be noted that it is recommended to remove this material during thaws, since at elevated temperatures during the day, condensation can form under it, which negatively affects the state of the bark of the trunk..

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

A fairly effective way to protect trees and shrubs from mice is to compact the snow cover around. In winter, mice move under a layer of loose snow, and if trampled down, they have significant difficulties.

A good result when fighting mice is given by treating trees and the space around them with various chemical compounds that scare away animals. For this, you can use a mixture of clay and cow dung. Clay and manure are taken in equal parts and diluted with water until the consistency of thick sour cream is obtained. Add one tablespoon of carbolic acid to a bucket of mixture, then mix everything thoroughly. The resulting solution is lubricated with trunks and skeletal branches of trees.

The following recipe will help protect the garden from rodents: 4 kg of clay, 4 kg of fresh mullein, 100 g of creolin, 90 g of malofos (concentrate). All this is mixed well and diluted with water to the state of sour cream, then the stems and large branches of plants are coated.

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

If there are a lot of mice on the site, then you can destroy them with the help of poisoned baits, which are prepared from bread or grain, soaking them with poisons. However, this method is extremely dangerous for pets, therefore it is recommended to place the prepared baits in pipes made of roofing material, and only then lay them out in the garden. In order to prevent the death of pets and birds, it is best to use various traps, traps, mouse traps to kill mice..

How to protect your garden from hares

Hares are shy, charming creatures that act as positive heroes in many folk tales. However, despite this image, these animals can cause irreparable damage to your garden by eating anything that “grows poorly”. These animals are especially dangerous in winter, when in their usual habitats they do not have enough food..

You can protect fruit trees from hares by tying trunks and branches with spruce branches or a net. A reliable high fence made of solid material can be a good protection against these “intruders”, which will make it much more difficult for them to get into the personal plot. Such fences must be buried in the soil at least 30 centimeters, the height of the fence must be at least 1.2 meters so that the animal cannot undermine it or jump over it.

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Hares do not tolerate the smell of wormwood stems, so they can be used to overlay the tree-trunk circles of trees and bushes. These animals do not like the smell of blood and rancid lard, the pieces of which are enough to hold along the trunk and large branches. To protect against hares, you can coat shrubs and trees with a mixture of fish oil and naphthalene in a ratio of 8: 1. To scare off rodents, there is a special agent “Karnofer”, a solution of which is sprayed on the garden in winter..

You can scare off hares by scattering ash, sawdust or peat chips soaked in kerosene at the rate of 1 liter per bucket of water under the trees. Some gardeners use to combat hares by spraying the garden with a solution of the following recipe: 10 liters of water, 300 g of naphthalene, 2 liters of vegetable oil or diesel fuel, 100 g of copper sulfate, 400 g of turpentine and 350 grams of washing powder. All these ingredients are thoroughly mixed and used for spraying trees and bushes in winter..

As you know, hares are extremely cautious animals, they can be frightened by any small movement. Therefore, rustling garlands or black paper circles hung on branches are an effective way of scaring away animals. Scraps of dog hair and dog droppings are great scaring away hares.

To prevent hares from visiting your property, you can just get a cat. Maine Coon cats are perfect for this role. These very large pets have a powerful hunting instinct. They will not only drive away hares, but also destroy all the livestock of mice and rats in your and neighboring territories.

How to save damaged trees

If, nevertheless, a trouble happened, and the trees suffered from frost or a raid of rodents, you need to be able to provide them with the necessary help.

In order to determine the degree of freezing of the trunk, it is necessary in the spring to cut the bark and outer wood with a well-sharpened knife at the bottom, in the middle and at the top of the trunk, and also, if necessary, at the base of the skeletal branches. A healthy tree will have a light green color. If the wood is dark brown (the pear has black), then the plant has received significant frost damage. Such a tree is not pruned and its growth is carefully observed. If in the spring or during the summer it did not sprout, or it blossomed weakly, then the tree will have to be uprooted.

If the wood of the examined tree is light brown, it means that it is not very frozen. Such trees are cut off not before bud break, but at the time of shoot growth, when the frozen parts of the plant are already clearly visible.

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Pruning frozen trees must be done correctly – wounds should not be more than 5 cm in diameter. Large sections overgrow much worse, such trees often develop cytosporiasis and cancer, which leads to the death of the plant.

Another important feature of pruning frozen trees is that all cuts with a diameter of more than 1 cm must be carefully coated with garden varnish, but in no case with paint. Garden var can be bought at the store, or you can cook it at home. To do this, you need 50 grams of pine resin, 200 grams of wax and 250 grams of grease. All these components must be heated separately until completely dissolved, then mixed well and poured into a glass container. If the var turns out to be too thick, then you can dilute it with sunflower oil, and if it is too liquid, thicken it with well-sifted ash. After pruning, garden var is applied to the wound and rubbed over the surface. Healing after such treatment, as a rule, occurs quickly, and the tree recovers..

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Frozen wood makes it difficult for water and nutrients to flow from the roots to the trunk and crown. Therefore, all damaged trees must be well watered, especially in May-June, when the growing season takes place.

An effective agronomic technique for maintaining frozen trees is to mulch the trunk circle with matured compost or rotted cow dung. This activates the vital activity of beneficial microorganisms and earthworms, which helps to improve the structure and increase soil fertility. This mulch also retains moisture well. Such improved conditions contribute to the fastest recovery of frost-damaged trees..

Experienced gardeners do not advise feeding frozen plants with mineral fertilizers, since a sharp increase in the concentration of the soil solution greatly complicates the flow of moisture from the root system to the leaves, and the process of tree restoration slows down.

If the garden has been damaged by an invasion of rodents, a decoction made from linden bark will help speed up wound healing. To do this, in the spring, you need to grind linden bark (half a bucket) and fill it to the top with cold water, boil for 30–40 minutes. The resulting broth must be cooled and filtered, then with the resulting jelly-like mass, lubricate all wounds on trees and bushes damaged by rodents. It is best to wrap the top of the damage with thick paper and tie tightly. The dressing is not removed for one to two months until the wounds on the tree heal.

Garden maintenance in winter. Protection against frost and rodents

Some gardeners use so-called plastic bandages to heal injuries, that is, they tie the nibbled places with plastic wrap. The main advantage of this method is that the film transmits sunlight and heat well, thereby creating favorable conditions for the rapid recovery of damaged trees..

Ways to protect the garden from frost and rodents are quite simple and accessible to everyone. You just need to take a little time and attention so that your trees and shrubs remain intact and pay for the care of a generous harvest over the years..

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