snow on red cherry blossom
Gardening jobs for January
.1. Keep an eye on the weather as a heavy downfall of snow can weigh down and damage the branches in your larger specimens, this will be a greater risk to evergreen shrubs and conifers. Be ready to brush the snow away using booms or floor brushes as soon as possible, especially where palms and cordylines are affected. This is also a particular concern with tightly clipped hedges where the considerable weight of thick snow can force open the middles, ruining their shape for the following season.

2. Waterlogged pots will be at risk from cold and frost damage at this time of year, no more so than terracotta pots or those with a porous pots nature. Stand these pots onto pot feet or blocks so that the pot is raised allowing good air circulation around its base. This helps to keep this vulnerable part of the pot dry, improving its drainage but more importantly it will prevent the integrity of the pot from being damaged by cold weather. It's easy to recognize if your pot has suffered frost damage as the base will either soften and crumble, or you will start to notice thin ‘slices’ of your pot's outer layer ending up on the floor.

3. Although its starting to get a little late there is still time to get in those last minute bulbs, corms and tubers planted into the ground - so long as it hasn't frozen solid. Before you put them in though, check thoroughly for signs of drying out, rot or deterioration. Remove and destroy any that you are not happy with and give the rest of them a fine dusting of sulphur powder to prevent fungal attacks.

.For more information on planting bulbs click onto:Top Tips for Tulip Care
How to Plant and Grow Snowdrops
How to Plant and Grow Hyacinths

4. If you hadn't done so already remove pumps and filters from your ponds and water features to prevent them from being damaged during the winter. By leaving them in you are risking expensive damage to casings and pipe fittings as when the water freezes inside it will expand causing the plastic casings to crack.

5. This is an ideal time for some last minute work on your fruit trees and bushes so long as you don't mind working in the cold. Cut down and dig up the roots and stumps of any old or tired plants that are no longer producing reasonable crops.

All of your current bushes, including gooseberries can still be pruned but don’t throw your pruning straight away as these can be used to produce new plants from hardwood cuttings. This is a great way to increase your stocks, particularly for blackcurrants, redcurrants, white currants and gooseberries, but make sure you are only using disease-free material for propagation.

For more information click onto - How to Take Hardwood Cuttings

For gooseberries and red and white currants, prune any lateral branches that fruited last year back to a couple of buds from the main branches. This will encourage strong young shoots for this year which will be far more productive. Blackcurrants will do best with between one-third to one half of all their older branches removed. Take them back to the very base of the plant, but make sure that you leave an angled cut at the bottom of each branch. This will stop water droplets from sitting on the tops of freshly wounded stems, encouraging rots. Do this every year and you will always have a good proportion of young, vigorous growth that can support strong cropping.

If you were unable to prune and train your summer-fruiting raspberries earlier in the season, don't worry as you get another chance to do it now. In fact it will be a little easier this time as the branches will now be bare. All of the old fruiting canes should be cut back to ground level, and any new canes should be tied back in their place. These new canes will be the ones providing next years fruit. Space these new canes out well as its will make picking easier, and will also give you room to keep next seasons new growth separate.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Gardening Jobs for October
Gardening Jobs for November
RHS January

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