January Garden Diary

January – Garden Maintenance – Nottingham.

Average temperatures: 1.0°C / 6.3°C                      10 Day Weather Forecast
Average rainfall: 2.6 inches
Average sunshine: 50.5 hours

It’s now winter and most plants are dormant. But there are still plenty of jobs to be done in the garden. As average night-time temperatures continue to drop, frost becomes quite likely. Tender plants will die and semi-tender plants need extra looking after. Garden structures take a beating as water freezes and expands. Here’s what you should be paying attention to in January:

Paths and steps – if at all damp then a hard frost can do considerable damage to the structure. Brickwork and paving joints can crack and move, especially if not well constructed. Besides being unsightly, this can be a dangerous trip hazard.

If water isn’t draining away properly and the garden structures remain waterlogged, consider remedial work to improve the drainage once better weather arrives. In the meantime, grit and salt (keeping it away from ponds, soil and plants) will help keep everything less slippery.

Ponds – Large natural ponds should manage the cold weather well. Smaller, ornamental ponds, especially if you have fish, will benefit from leaving a tennis ball or similar floating on the surface. As the water freezes this will help reduce the problems arising from ice expansion and your fish will appreciate that too.

Greenhouses – If not already done in the Autumn, greenhouses should be cleaned and disinfected to help keep disease free in the coming growing months.

Lawn – Now would be a good time to get your lawnmower serviced if needed. Although not growing, grass needs light to stay alive so sweep any fallen leaves or other debris away. If you have any damaged areas, new turf can be laid if the weather is due to be dry and mild for the next week or two. If at all unsure, leave until early spring.

Plants – It’s probably too late if you’ve left tender plants out in the garden. Semi-tender plants will benefit from being moved to a frost protected area if in pots, or wrapped in bubble wrap if ground planted. Plants that can be pruned this month include Apples and Pears (not if a hard frost is due) and if grown in grass, they would benefit from a nitrogenous feed. Now is also a good time to spray various fruiting trees and bushes to control over-wintering insect pests.

Trees – January is often windy. Young trees should be staked to minimise possible wind damage and checked periodically for firmness. If older, larger trees become damaged, get all broken and cracked branches removed to reduce the chance of further damage or injury.

Wildlife – There’s not a great deal of natural food around for garden birds to feed on. Why not put out a bird feeder and ice-free water for them?


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