As we greet the New Year and the days are starting to look ever so slightly longer it’s about time to start prepping the garden for the upcoming year.
While it’s still cold and wintery check out our list of Gardening Jobs in January and for more frosty advice check out our winter gardening tips post.
Recycling your Christmas Tree
The first thing on everyone’s minds in January is what to do with their Christmas tree?
There are plenty of options to choose from when looking to recycle your Christmas tree that is both safe and environmentally friendly.
Don't forget you can also put your Christmas Tree back out into the garden for it to grow over the next year. See our guide on how to plant a Christmas Tree to see how it's done.
Prepping the Garden in January
Continue clearing any leftover debris and leaves from the winter checking for any critters such as slugs and snails as you go.
Add the collected organic matter to your compost bin or save the leaves to one side to add to turn into leaf mould.
Tidying Soil and Beds in January
Continue to dig the soil in beds and borders around the garden if you haven’t done so yet. If the ground is frozen and you are unable to work with it try again on a milder day or wait till next month when the weather is slightly warmer.
Don’t worry about breaking down large clumps of soil just yet, the cold frosty weather will do this for you.
Add compost and well-rotted manure to topsoil and work through with a fork to add nutrients back into the soil.
Watering Trees and Plants in January
Watering should still be limited throughout the winter. Plants are in their dormant stages and aren’t consuming as much. Winter rain should provide the garden with enough moisture through the season but if there is a dry spell keep an eye on potted plants so that the compost does not completely dry out.
If the rain has been heavy make sure that potted plants do not become logged with water. This can cause root rot and many plants will not tolerate having wet feet. If the compost is very soggy stand your pots up on bricks to allow the excess moisture to drain away fully.
Pruning Trees and Plants in January
Prune fig trees in January while the trees are very deep in their dormancy. Left any later in the season and the new wounds will start to bleed sap. The same goes for pruning your grape vines.
Gooseberries and blueberries can both be pruned at this time of year, prune for shape and to remove some old wood. Leaves the healthy young branches so that they will produce an abundance of crop year after year.
Prune shrub roses and climbing roses including floribunda and hybrid tea varieties. Do this by cutting back any weak or damaged stems and leaving the thicker more vigorous stems alone.
Pruning fruit trees in this time is a fantastic way to encourage productive fruiting. Aim to remove crossing branches to create an open framework with plenty of air circulation. The tree should have a goblet-shaped structure with 4 or 5 main branches.
Still, avoid pruning any stoned fruit trees such as plum trees and cherry trees as these are vulnerable to silver leaf infections.
Planting in January
If the weather permits and the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged, continue to plant your bare root trees and plants. Pay particular attention to the ground when planting your rose bushes as they will not tolerate being planted into sodden soil, also avoid planting roses where they have been grown before as this can lead to replant disease.
If you can’t plant your bare root trees and plants just yet they are safe to leave in a frost-free garage or outhouse until the weather becomes milder.
Add some winter flowering shrubs or trees to the garden to add fragrance and colour. Yuletide camellias have brilliant bright red blooms and will cheer up a winter garden in no time.
Olive trees make great additions to plant up in pots over winter. While they will need extra protection they will bring some well-needed greenery. Check out our Mini Olive Tree featured as January’s Tree of the Month.
Plant your soft fruits like blueberry plants and Gooseberry Bushes. Blueberry bushes need acidic soil and prefer an ericaceous compost so these are best to be grown in a container rather than planted in the ground.
Check your Stored Fruit
If you had a fruitful harvest of apples, pears and other foraging delights that you have been saving to use, make sure to keep checking them. If any have started to look like they could be rotting then remove them straight away. If one starts to rot then it won’t be long until the others do too.
Protecting your Plants through the Winter
Newly planted trees and shrubs should be protected from strong winds and frost.
Strong winds may cause some plants to rock which loosens the roots from the ground. Make sure to firm these back down into the soil to avoid any damage.
Keep protecting tender plants and container-grown trees that can be damaged in cold weather. Bubble wrap or horticultural fleece is often best for this.
Protect Fig Trees and ensure they have a productive fruiting season by covering the tips of the branches. This is where the fruit is grown and frost may cause damage.
Wildlife in January
Keep feeders topped up for passing wildlife as food is still scarce.
Take care when disposing and tidying leaf piles to avoid scaring or harming and hibernating creatures that may have taken shelter in there.
Continue watering your citrus trees sparingly, keeping the compost moist but not wet. Citrus varieties are hungry plants and will require feeding throughout the year. Use a balanced winter feed in January that will help with the production of fruits and flowers. We have winter citrus feed available for purchase that is perfect for this time of year.
Keep your other houseplants in the brightest areas of the house and only water when the compost feels dry.