After a rampant growing season, early winter offers an opportunity to restore a little order. Sharpen those secateurs!
Trim and shape frost hardy hedges
Repairing or building brick or stonework, paths and steps are jobs for the cooler weather. Plan your attack and dive in over the next few months.
Water in the morning so that soil can drain during the day rather than becoming become cold and soggy over night.
Prepare for frosts from now until early September. On evenings when frost is suspected, cover frost sensitive plants with sheets or hessian or move to
shelter if potted. Frost damage looks like burnt foliage and is best left on the plant until early spring to protect the undamaged growth below it.
Prune hydrangeas, wisteria and ornamental grapes.
Choose disease-resistant varieties of bare-rooted roses for planting.
Reduce root rot and waterlogging by adding organic matter and gypsum to heavy soils.
Last chance to divide perennials such as clivia or agapanthus.
Prune fruit trees to a manageable size.
Take advantage of the dry to restain outdoor furniture now
When you have 1 hour
Prune the roses. Using sharp secateurs, a pruning saw, long leather gloves and caution, cut out all dead and diseased and grey wood as well as anything
narrower than a pencil. Remove crossing branches and under stock shoots too. Aim for an open, vase-like shape. Prune to above an outward-facing bud.
Follow-up with slow-release fertiliser or a cow manure mulch.
Text: Ally Jackson