How you can prep your garden for cooler temperatures

Dothan, AL (WTVY) - We are a little over a month out from the start of winter…
For those of you with a green thumb, the time to prepare is now.

With a cold snap expected this weekend, prepping your garden now is key.
Lucy Edwards, Regional Extension Agent for Home Horticulture says:
"With temperatures beginning to get lower, it is very wise to start thinking about what plants you need to be bringing inside."

Freezes may not be common in the Wiregrass.
But wind can be a factor.
Bob Lee, Tree and Shrub expert with Dothan Nurseries says:
"So protect things from the north wind, you know things from the north are our enemy when it comes to plants."

Lee says mulch is a must with multiple benefits.
"We don't have freezes yet but the air is getting so cold that you want to start mulching right now."
It helps hold in moisture, suppress weeds, and insulate the soil.
"3 to 5 inches of mulch is ideal for just about everything in our area."

Fruit trees are more susceptible to damage when temperatures are below freezing.
"Your fruit trees are the most important to keep covered when we have a hard freeze."
You should cover any citrus fruit tree if freezing temperatures are expected overnight.
You can purchase freeze protection cloths.
But take note...
"You want to uncover those before they get real warm or the humidity will build up under that blanket and sure enough you'll end up with mildew."

Shrubs do a little better in cooler temperatures...
"If it is a blooming shrub, you know your camellias and things like that are going to be blooming all winter, you don't have to do anything with them."

Experts say that watering is the best thing you can do for any plant this time of year.
Edwards says:
"Well watered plants thrive better because when things freeze it locks up you know the moisture and so the plants can absorb the water."

And last but not least...
"You know if you clean out under them well, cover up the roots, that's your best bet."

Lee also says now is the time to fertilize your lawn and overseed it for the winter.
Overseeding will help to fill in bare spots and enhance your lawn's color.
You may not see a difference now but it will pay off come spring.