January to dos – if you want to brave the snow!!!

January is moving on a pace most of us are now in our second week back at work and the garden still needs attention, but only if the temperature and the daylight hours allow us to get there.

So, I thought I would give you my list of routine tasks for my garden. You may have a different order but it is still good to be out in the fresh air especially after a week in the office.

Pruning Wisteria

This is a great time for tidying up the long tendrils that have wrapped around the downpipes, telephone cables etc, just pay attention to not cutting the cables as this can be a costly mishap.

Fruit Trees

Only the pear and apple trees for now and if it is freezing don’t do them, remove crossing branches and any that are rubbing. Always take your time and choose the weaker of the two branches or the one growing in the wrong direction and look for buds facing the direction you want the tree to develop.

Fallen Leaves

Finish off clearing the fallen leaves as they can cause rot and keep the ground colder.

Timber Stuctures

Treatment of timber structures if the sun has come out and the temperature is above 5 or 6 and the timber is dry it is a great time to give them a coat of timber preservative such as creacote which is the replacement for the old creosote that now only available to professionals. If you don’t like the strong smell then try the timber treatments from the large DIY/Garden Centres, they do lots of colours so they help brighten your day too!

Ponds and Paths

Don’t forget that cleaning of ponds and paths is still important.

Top 10 other jobs for the month of January – not in any particular order:

  • Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch
  • Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny (!) days
  • Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already
  • Repair and re-shape lawn edges
  • Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia Begonia and Canna for rots or drying out
  • Prune apple and pear trees
  • Start forcing rhubarb
  • Plan your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season
  • Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds
  • Prepare a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect them from peach leaf curl

 

Tree Fellas

Interesting how the ash dieback disease has suddenly bought forth a lot of comments on the value of modern tree planting schemes. I always thought that planting trees – any trees and anywhere was good. Good for the climate, good for wildlife and good for the environment. Well it appears I was wrong.

In a well written piece in the Guardian, Andy Byfield puts forward his views on what he terms heavy-handed tree planting.

Reading the piece makes you sad when you think that over 90% of our 80 million Ash trees may be killed by the disease. It is also fascinating to learn just how prolific the Ash tree is and how it can repopulate forest areas so easily.

These thoughts are not new. In an article published in 2005 similar arguments were put forward about tree plantations, suggesting that they should use native species and promote biodiversity.