January – a time for planning, planting and pruning

Chase away any winter blues and get the new year off to a great start by planning a garden makeover, planting to fill any gaps, pruning, or carrying out any repairs.

Here are our top tips for things to do in January.

Planting rootball stock

Now is a good time for planting trees, shrubs and hedging, including bare-rooted plants and rootballed stock from our fields which can only be dug during dormancy. Always select plants appropriate to the conditions on site and take time to make appropriate site preparations to help the plants get the best possible start; we can provide you with all the advice you need about site preparation and aftercare, but we will ask you for information regarding the conditions on site. If in doubt, why not book a site visit so that we can come to you and assess the site for you?

Pruning

Apple and pear fruit trees should be pruned now in mid-winter, but plums and cherries require summer pruning.

Weather allowing, give Wisteria its New Year prune in mid-January to encourage flowering in spring. The long whippy shoots produced last summer should have been cut back to about five buds in August, these now need to be pruned back further to two or three buds to concentrate all the energy into these for flower production rather than leaf growth. If you missed the summer pruning it is still worth trying the hard pruning now.

Repairs

After storms and gales, check for signs of damage to trees, shrubs or hedge plants and, if necessary, prune to leave a tidy cut rather than tears or splits which could spread or be an entry point for infection. Check newly-planted plants for signs of heave or wind rock, as well as checking stakes and ties. If you have a storm-damaged fence, consider whether you might be better-off just planting a hedge instead.

If we get heavy snow, give clipped hedges or topiary a gentle shake to remove some of it and reduce the weight to avoid damage or the shapes being spoilt.

During periods of snow or frosts, rabbits and hares can’t so easily eat the frozen grass and often resort to gnawing stems and bark to get to the sap and soft tissues beneath. If they do enough damage and/or ring-bark the tree it could die, so if you are planning to plant trees where rabbits are an issue ensure that you add rabbit guards.