Trees, Shrubs and Roses
- If there are gales, check all trees and shrubs planted recently for signs of wind-rocking, whether staked or not.
- If a young tree, a few years planted, has been knocked sideways, but not quite out of the ground, it is sometimes possible to straighten it up. First dig out the soil under the lifted roots to allow them to fall back into position. Then pull or push the tree back into position and anchor it with three steel wires or cables, or prop it up with three posts.
- The lower branches of garden trees can be pruned up to allow light to plants underneath. Rose bushes can be pruned at any time.
- Any tree pruning that needs to be carried out can be done now, but not the cherry family.
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- If the ground is very wet, not much can be done, but if weather is good, border flowers can be lifted and divided, if plants have become too straggly or over-grown.
- Bedding flowers can be started off indoors in a heated propagator now, but it is still too early for most of the easy kinds, such as French marigolds and dahlias.
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- When snow falls, it cushions the grass from damage but stay off when it begins to melt.
- If the lawn area has had drainage pipes installed, check if the drain outlets are clear to facilitate the removal of surplus water.
- Have the mower overhauled or serviced before the mowing season. Plan to mow when the weather picks up.
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Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
- To have early new vegetables, you can sow the seed of early varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, peas and onions now, starting them in warm conditions indoors, or in a propagator, and grown on in a greenhouse or tunnel.
- Seed potatoes of early varieties can be put into trays in a greenhouse or a window sill indoors to sprout now.
- Check on fruit trees to see if they have been rocked by strong winds. Most dwarfing rootstocks have small roots and the stakes will need to be solid.
- Check for signs of bullfinch damage to buds and net the trees if necessary.
- Lift a few rhubarb stools for forcing in a dark, warm place, or in a black plastic bag.
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Greenhouse and House Plants
- Christmas houseplants — poinsettia, azalea, cyclamen and such like — can be made to last longer if they are given reasonable care now. They will need watering but only just enough to keep them moist, certainly do not leave them standing in water.
- Clean dust off the leaves of house plants witha soft cloth and clean lukewarm water.
- Water sparingly in the greenhouse for the time being.
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