As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop use this handy guide to learn about the essential things you need to do in your garden to prepare for winter:
1. Prune roses to avoid damage from wind rock – this mainly applies to taller plants, shorter or younger plants can be left until the spring. The general rule is to reduce the overall height by at least a third to half of its existing height to reduce the amount that could be affected by strong winds. Removing any top heavy growth as well as any crossing or diseased stems is a good idea on any plant. The rest of the main pruning can then take place in the spring as the last frosts are passing and buds are beginning to form.
2. Leaf Clearance – Leaving fallen leaves on your lawn for too long is unhealthy for the grass as it encourages disease, worm activity and moss growth which only serves to increase your maintenance workload the following year. As leaves create some of the best compost it makes sense to utilise nature’s free food by using your compost bin for leaf storage each year. Our petrol powered leaf blowers make short work of this arduous task and we can either compost it for you or if this is not possible, for a small fee, remove it from your property.
Handy Tip: An easy way of collecting leaves from your lawn, as long as they aren’t too sodden, is using your lawn mower. The natural action of the mower makes light works of picking up the majority of the leaves which you can then tidy up the remains with a leaf blower.
3. Support for Wildlife – we are entering a tough time of year for birds and small creatures as food becomes more and more scarce so have a think about how you can give them opportunity for somewhere to live and things to eat. So whilst it is good to keep your lawn free from leaves don’t be in such a hurry to clear them from your borders or the nooks and crannies of your garden as this provides great habitat opportunities. Log piles or specific bug homes are also gaining in popularity as they are an interesting feature in a garden as well as being beneficial to the ecosystem.
There is an excellent article covering this topic by Steve Harris on the Discover Wildlife website, have a read through it here to pick up tips and techniques for a variety of wildlife.
4. Tree Pruning – this is an important one as all trees should be pruned over the winter months whilst they are dormant and before the sap starts rising in the spring. Trees such as maples and conifers can actually ‘bleed’ quite heavily. Aside from this it is also far easier to see the true shape of all of the branches and allow access for all the necessary cuts to be made. Pruning stimulates growth in the spring as the number of overall buds are reduced so that more energy is then put into the remaining shoots giving a stronger growth pattern. If you have an orchard the right kind of regular pruning gives the best fruit production each year as trees or bushes left to themselves tend to get congested and over time become less productive. Tree pruning can be a daunting task and requires specialist knowledge and equipment to do properly in many cases. If you have trees in your garden that need pruning, shaping or regenerating then give us a call so that we can arrange to give you a no-obligation quote for the work.
5. Frost Protection – Using non-native species in our gardens brings with it the responsibility of caring for the more tender varieties over winter. Depending on the plant, some may need digging up and bringing into your greenhouse or conservatory or others may just require a plant fleece to keep the worst of the frost off. An inexpensive fleece could save the cost of the plant, remember to put them on tender plants before the frosts become heavy. Tree ferns should have their crowns protected with straw then their fronds tied together and wrapped in fleece. Tip: Try using black fabric instead of white for a more urban look!
6. Keep Surfaces Clean – Leaving leaves and general detritus on your patio or deck not only can lead to staining but also makes the surface more slippery and prone to moss and algae growth. If your surfaces are already starting to feel slippery underfoot, especially on decks, take action now to keep you and your visitors safe by jet washing or using an ecological cleaner suitable for the substrate.