Winter Gardening Tips
Drain the fuel tank of the lawn mower before putting the machine away for the winter.
If your pond freezes frogs can be deprived of oxygen. Floating a small ball in it will keep a small area clear.
Clean away any fallen leaves, if left to rot on the ground, fallen leaves and fruits are great breeding homes for overwintering pests and diseases. Take the time to rake them up and you’ll not only lessen that risk, but you’ll also have some very good composting material.
Plants grow very slowly in winter and use a lot less water than in summer. Those outdoor pots you could barely keep moist in summer may now be thoroughly waterlogged. Check them and if necessary move them up on bricks or small timber blocks to allow them to drain properly.
If that doesn’t work move them to a sunnier or more sheltered position.
Container grown plants are more at risk from frost damage than plants growing in the border. Protect plants by wrapping the pots with a layer of insulation.
Protect your fruit trees from winter moth grubs by applying a grease band to your trees now to stop an infestation next year.
Free-standing fruit trees should be pruned now. Remove dead, dying and diseased branches, as well as branches that are crossing over each other.
Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted.
Be on the lookout for any pests on plants over the winter. Small infestations of whitefly, red spider mite and greenfly will soon spread, giving you more problems in the future. Look very closely at the undersides of leaves, at the base of stems, and on new buds for fine webbing. Set any suspicious-looking plants in the shower to wash off the mites, and repeat frequently. Or, if it’s a small plant, you can shake it around upside-down in soapy water. Insecticidal soap also works, you can also Control pests by picking them off the leaves, spraying or disposing of badly infected plants.
The best way of being successful with these indoor plants is to make sure that they never dry out, that their very fine root systems are always kept moist and that they are put in a position where there is a satisfactory amount of light, no droughts and no exposure to excessive heat from radiators or fires. If those few steps are carried out then there should be no problem.
Do not give water to houseplants late in the afternoon. The foliage should not be wet when night comes as they can rot.
Continue to remove fallen leaves from lawns before they block out light and moisture to the grass. Repair damaged lawn edges or patches with turves cut from other areas of the garden. Avoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings. It can damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint-shaped marks. Watch your lawn for signs of water-logging, as the weather gets wetter. You may be able to remedy this with some maintenance – either now, next spring, or the following autumn.