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Climbing plants add a touch of enchantment to any garden, providing both aesthetic appeal and functionality throughout the growing season. However, as winter approaches and these plants enter their dormant phase, it becomes crucial to secure them properly to prevent damage and ensure their survival. The autumn can bring strong winds that pose a serious threat to climbing plants, so you’ll want to make sure they’re still securely attached. Doing this now makes sure that they’re ready to carry on growing when they wake up again for spring. The same goes for any small trees that you have in your garden.

What happens to plants in winter?

There are all sorts of different natural responses that different plants have to the winter. Plants undergo various changes to adapt to the harsh conditions and ensure their survival. Cold-hardy plants develop protective mechanisms against the freezing temperatures, such as producing antifreeze proteins or concentrating sugars in their cells. Perennial plants may shed their leaves, focusing on root growth and nutrient storage, while some annuals complete their lifecycle before the onset of winter, leaving behind seeds for the next generation. One of the most common responses is dormancy, where growth and nutrient absorption slows right down in order to conserve energy- it’s a bit like your plants hibernating. Then they bounce right back when it gets warmer again.

What are climbing plants?

Climbing plants are a diverse group that possess the unique ability to grow vertically, either by twining themselves around a support or using specialized structures such as tendrils and aerial roots. They can be found in various habitats and serve various functions- they add height and privacy to your garden, they can hang onto walls, fences, trees, trellises and even other plants. With their natural inclination to reach for the sky, climbing plants can make efficient use of limited ground space in gardens, while also adding a touch of architectural interest. Additionally, they can serve as a habitat for many birds, insects, and other wildlife species, which contributes to the overall biodiversity of your area.

Checking in on your climbers

Once your climbing plants have gone dormant for the winter, you have the ideal opportunity to secure them to prevent them from becoming damaged. You can be sure that they’ve stopped growing until the spring, so you can use string to tie them to supports or nearby surfaces so that they’re less susceptible to getting battered by strong winds. If they were already secured, make sure that they haven’t come loose in the autumn. The same goes for tree ties and stakes - make sure that they’re still nice and secure heading into the rest of the winter period.

How to protect them from high winds

To safeguard your climbing plants against the detrimental effects of high winds, there are several strategic measures you can implement. One effective method is to utilize a sturdy trellis or other support structures designed for withstanding robust gusts, ensuring that the plants have a secure anchor. Additionally, by routinely pruning and maintaining your climbing plants, you can prevent excessive growth, which can create additional resistance against wind. Lastly, consider planting climbing plants in a location that receives some natural protection from the elements, such as near walls or solid fences.

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