01-January Garden Tasks

I have already mentioned some of these tasks in the previous months tasks for December, for many of the tasks still apply.  Bare root roses can still be planted ensuring you do not plant if the ground is frosted. Remember that roses will be prone to specific replant disease if they are planted where roses have been grown before.  This effects the future plants and they will never produce abundant growth or flowers.  If you do need to plant in the same location you will either have to replace the soil to a depth of 450 mm or leave the site free of roses for at least three years.  The former suggestion is very expensive to undertake and would only be viable for a small area where the roses are forming an intrinsic element within a landscape feature.  Even in such a situation I would always advocate leaving the ground free of roses and plant alternatives to the roses.

Organic matter can be dug in to the borders- I often apply the compost over the ground this time of the year allowing worms to draw the goodness down rather than digging the compost in.  I consider this a better method on my clay soil were more damage is caused to the soil structure by compacting it with my muddy boots when the ground is wet.  The advantage of applying the compost over the surface is using its bulk as a mulch.  You do need to avoid silver foliage plants such as lavender and cotton lavenders (santolina) as the mulch causes roots and you are likely to kill the plants.

It is hard to imagine snow whilst writing this blog as we are facing a very mild December but nature has away of catching us all unaware. Be ready to brush snow from evergreen shrubs and conifers, as it can weigh down and damage their branches.  Many a mature shrub last winter was badly damaged and disfigured due to snow damage.

If you have fruit trees you can apply a plant oil-based winter wash in to kill off any overwintering pests. Growing success winter tree wash would be ideal.

Whilst discussing chemicals check that withdrawn products have been removed from use.  See RHS web site for up to date list.  The list of with drawn chemicals constantly changes and it is good to ensure for your own safety and others that these items are no longer used.

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Advice/Garden-chemicals-and-pesticides/Chemicals

Now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings particularly as we have are having a mild winter.  The hardwood cuttings are more likely to root early in the season and can be taken until just before bud burst.  So now is the time to start.   I have provided some notes on how to take a hardwood cutting within the blog pages so have a look before starting.  It is very easy and a great way to generate new plants.

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