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Winter months are a dreary time for all plants and we all usually feel helpless when it comes to keeping our gardens neat and tidy as it seems like just too much effort. Though, if you are looking at selling your property, it is very important that your garden is kept in the best possible condition as it is the first impression that a buyer will have of your property. There are however a few things that can be done to keep your garden in shape and to maintain its beauty, which you have come to enjoy throughout summer.

Choose the right plants

Choosing the right plants for your garden is important as certain plants thrive in summer but gets hit hard by frost during the winter. Consider hardy, evergreen plants as an option. They have leathery leaves and protective protuberances on softer stems which shields them during the winter. Some of them even have the ability to increase their sugar levels so that their cells will only start freezing at a much lower temperature.

Prepare the soil

Hard, clay soil with weak drainage can be fatal for plants during winter times. It is important to use compost and even some river sand to loosen the soil and improve drainage.

Protecting plants

Use plants to protect plants. You can use smaller trees and shrubs as windbreaks for plants that are more fragile. Get to know you garden – use hard elements like garden art and stepping stones in areas that usually get more frost than others. Remember that areas near fences are more prone to frost as air usually ‘rest’ against these structures.

Planning, Know the right time and place.

Always plant your favourite plants near a warm, northern boundary wall on your property. Pot plants are a good idea as they can easily be moved to a warmer area in the garden. If you have a liking of more fragile plants, rather wait till a later time to plant them, or you build a greenhouse in which to keep them in the interim.

Food and Water

A step that should be taken up immediately before the full wrath of winter arrives is the water and fertilising of your garden as this is of the utmost importance. Use fertiliser that is rich in potassium as it helps vegetative grow stronger as it hardens cell walls and thus increasing the plants resistance to cold weather. Watering your plants during winter is a necessity, but remember to do so only in the morning. This gives them time to dry during the day and prevenst freezing at night. If there was any frost during the night, water your plants immediately as the sun comes up, this allows the plant cells to slowly defrost.

Having a garden that is neat, clean and green during the winter will make your property stand out above all others and ensure its attractiveness. With a few preventative measures, you are well on your way to be fully prepared for the cold winter snaps.

By Jacques Erasmus
Engel & Völkers Southern Africa

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