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Tuesday 4 January 2022

This Month in Your Garden - January

‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.’ - Chinese proverb.

January is right in the middle of the dormant season and a time when you can plant bare-rooted deciduous trees and shrubs. Most importantly, by planting a tree, you are creating a positive impact on the environment. 

Trees clean the air and help combat global warming while preventing rainwater runoff and helping save energy. So, if you have room, get planting now. Another bonus is bare-rooted plants come dug up from nursery beds with no soil around the roots and should therefore be cheaper than those grown in containers.

Newly planted fruit bushes, bare root roses and shrubs will benefit from protection from cold winds and frost by giving them a temporary windbreak of netting. And you can propagate more plants by taking hardwood cuttings of shrubs and deciduous trees. Pruning apple and pear trees and late vines is another job to be done if you didn’t manage it before Christmas. Cutting dead and weak branches and thick growth in the centre of a tree or shrub will help air circulate. Wisteria and rose bushes can be pruned now but not cherries, nectarines, apricots, figs or peaches. 

We don’t think of January as a time to sow seeds, but some need frost to germinate, such as alpine plants, native shrubs and trees. So that, along with preparing ground (if it’s not too hard) for bedding plants by digging in manure, is a couple more jobs to be getting on with.     

  • Deadhead winter pansies
  • Cut down old stems of perennials
  • Recycle the Christmas tree
  • Plant lily bulbs in pots or borders if it’s mild
  • Sow annuals and bedding plants indoors in nodules
  • Sow Pelargonium and Lobelia in a heated greenhouse or propagator
  • Force rhubarb
  • Plant hardy bulbs in succession

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