How to Cover Plants for Winter


Your garden is a lovely escape in the spring and summer, but come fall, everything changes. Your perennials are browning and the late-summer flowers are drooping their heads. Winter is coming to your garden and if you want to protect it from the coming cold you are going to have to cover your plants for winter. If you live in a USDA zone colder than Zone 8, covering plants in the winter is must for their survival.

Step 1

Cut back your perennial flowers to about 3 to 4 inches above the ground. This will reduce the amount of pruning you have to do come spring.

Step 2

Mulch over the cut down perennials after the ground freezes. Make sure the mulch is about 3 to 4 inches thick. Mulch around the base of perennial shrubs as well. Mulch near the base of trees, but keep the mulch about 1 to 2 feet away from the trunk to avoid diseases.

Step 3

Wrap tarps or blankets around shrubs and trees.

Step 4

Place stakes in the ground around the shrubs. Wrap the tarp or blanket around the shrub, balancing it on the stakes. Secure it with clips or ties.

Step 5

Drape traps or blankets over cold sensitive trees. Be sure to completely cover the canopy of the tree. This may take several tarps or blankets, depending on the size of the tree. Wrap the trunk of the tree in blankets or tarps, too. Secure the tarp or blankets with ropes.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you use a tarp, make sure it is breathable so the plants have air circulation.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Tarps
  • Blankets
  • Stakes
  • Clips or ties
  • Rope


  • Protecting Plants During Cold Weather
  • Preparing Plants for Winter
  • Protect plants from winter's cold and frost

Who Can Help

  • How to Take Care of Plants in the Winter
Keywords: covering plants in the winter, cover plants in the winter, plants

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.