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Into The Garden - January 2023

January has arrived, and gardens are coated in a layer of frost from sunrise to sunset. Even though it may seem too cold for any gardening jobs, there are still tasks to help keep the garden alive until spring.

Winter pruning

The majority of plants will be dormant throughout winter to help preserve their energy, making this the perfect time to prune them back. Pruning back plants during winter has many benefits, such as ensuring the plant does not outgrow its space once it begins to grow in the next season. This technique also allows the plant to use the stored energy for growing new shoots, rather than wasting it on dead growth from the previous season.

Once the plant has shed any leaves and foliage at the end of autumn, you can see the frame and how the plant grows. Looking at each shoot individually, you will want to check for any signs of new growth such as fresh and bright green buds. Signs of new growth is great for the plant, though you will want to keep all new growth towards the base.

When it comes to pruning your plants, the best way to start is from the outside in. By starting with the longest branches, you can control what shape your plant has and how large you want it to grow. Remember to cut small sections at a time! You can always take more off, but once it’s gone you can’t add it back.

Start by cutting away any diseased or damaged areas first, as these can impact the rest of the plant. Next you can focus on any uncontrolled growth, such as pieces that have branched off or grown in a different direction. Lastly, trim any remaining branches so the plant is uniform and even throughout. Some branched may be slightly longer than other, but that is fine.

Make sure you don’t cut every branch back to the base as this could slow the plants growth. You want to leave roughly 3 to 6 inches of each healthy branch where possible, as this is where the new buds will grow from in the following season.

Find pruning tools online at Longacres, here.

Garden preparations for the year ahead

Preparing your garden for the next season can help speed up growth that may be lying under fallen leaves or old foliage.

When most people think of gardening, they think of planting up flowers and shrubs. Over winter, garden beds and borders can become hard, and full of weeds. This can make planting new shrubs difficult.

To keep your soil loose and the ideal area for plants, make sure you spend time turning the soil. Using a long-handled hoe, carefully break up large clumps of soil and turn the base of the tool through the ground. Not only will this aerate the soil and keep it from being too hard to dig, but will also break up any weeds growing to help clear the area.

Find digging tools online at Longacres, here.