Winter brings with it those cold westerly winds that cut like a knife and can cause damage to many plants and features within the garden.
Protecting plants from the ravages of strong, cold winds is no easy task and inevitably there will always be those plants that succumb to winters onslaught.
If the more sensitive plants are not afforded protection in the garden, they will soon become desiccated due to the drying effect of strong winds.
Container plants are particularly vulnerable, especially terracotta pots, which due to their porous nature, can dry out rapidly in windy conditions.
Sealing terracotta pots with a pot sealant is one way to reduce the impact of wind evaporating moisture from pots.
A simpler approach is to move container plants to a protected position in the garden or providing some form of physical protection from wind damage.
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Windbreaks which include screens and barriers are an option but can come at significant cost.
Whenever installing windbreaks remember that solid barriers will cause turbulence that can lead to greater damage to plants.
Windbreaks should be constructed from open weave materials such as shade cloth but there are also woven windbreak materials available, or better still plants.
The aim of a windbreak is to diffuse the wind as it enters an area.
Cloches are a common form protection for seedlings, and they can be constructed from a range of materials.
The most common type is made from a series of wire hoops that are placed over the developing seedlings and covered with a clear polyethylene material or other type of plastic to form a protective tunnel.
A cloche serves several functions; first it will provide a physical barrier between the plants and potential bird, animal or insect attack.
Second, cloches will reduce the damaging effects of wind, light frost, and hail, giving seedlings the best possible chance of establishment.
Cloches are usually left in place for several weeks while plants become established.
An alternative to covering an entire row of seedlings is to protect individual plants.
This can be achieved with a simple rummage through the recycling bin to collect old plastic milk cartons and clear plastic drink bottles.
Cut the base off these and place the top portion over the seedlings, ensure that the container is pushed firmly into the soil to keep the cover in place, and you have your own mini greenhouse.
This will protect seedlings from the elements until established when covers can be easily removed for reuse later.
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