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If you’re missing putting your green thumb to use during the winter months, there are plenty of cold-weather gardening projects that can keep you at your craft long past peak season. In fact, the preparations you make during winter can be a critical part of having a successful garden come spring. Use this time to complete the following tasks recommended by gardendesign.com:

Prepare plants for harsh conditions. Frost and winter winds can dehydrate and wreak havoc on plants. Protect newly planted shrubs and trees, along with established evergreens, from harsh conditions by enclosing them in shrub covers or wrapping them in burlap. Add materials like straw and dried leaves for an extra layer of insulation.

Plan for spring. Winter is a great time for planning. Use pencil and paper—or your favorite app—to map out your garden beds for spring. Order new plants online or from catalogs so that they arrive at the perfect time for planting.

Prune. The best time to prune many trees and shrubs is late winter while they’re still dormant. If you have late winter or early spring blooming plants, however, don’t prune them until after they’ve flowered. Do your research to find out when is the best time to prune the particular varieties you have in your yard. 

Keep an eye on branches. If you’re prone to bad weather during the winter, be sure to surveil your trees after every storm. Promptly remove broken or dead branches.

Relocate plants. Winter is the perfect time to replant large trees and shrubs, but wait until after the leaves drop so it will be less stressful for them. Ball and burlap the roots and move the plant its new location while it’s still dormant.

You can round out your cold-weather green-thumb projects by cleaning and storing your outdoor tools, repairing and repainting your outdoor furniture and covering tables and large chairs with outdoor furniture covers. These activities will keep you connected to your yard all year long, and have you ready to fully enjoy your garden come spring. 

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