What to do now

Timing is everything in gardening — for best results. But there is some leeway. In this section, Garden.ie offers accurate horticultural advice reminders on the main groups of plants under Irish conditions, week after week.

  • Trees, Shrubs and Roses
  • Flowers
  • Lawn
  • Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Greenhouse and House Plants

Trees, Shrubs and Roses

  • If there is a lot of rain, tree planting must be put on hold if the ground is very sodden.
  • Rose bushes can be shortened in exposed cold localities to prevent wind-rocking, and fully pruned in mild areas.
  • Control grass and weeds around the base of young trees to encourage better growth. Old carpet is good for this purpose.
  • Control weeds at the base of young hedges to avoid the likelihood of the base of the stems not furnishing properly with branches.
  • The lower branches of garden trees and large shrubs can be pruned to allow light in the lower plants. This can be done during winter until March, but do not prune cherry family plants.


  • Plant any spring bulbs that remain to be planted, not ideal but better late than never.
  • Lift and divide over-large perennial flowers, but not if the ground is wet, and planting of new kinds can continue in good conditions.
  • Turn a compost heap for leaf mould that was made earlier in autumn.


  • Edging and tidying and raking off of wind-blown leaves can be carried out, but avoid trampling over the lawn if the ground is squelchy.
  • Lawns on some soils may become very soft and this brings the mowing season to an end, buttake the opportunity to mow if the soil firms up for a week or so.
  • Repairs to damaged areas of the lawn can be carried out at this time of year, moving sods from less-used areas.

Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs

  • Dig over vegetable ground but not in wet weather. Rough digging before the worst of winter leaves the ground in god condition for spring.
  • Fruit tree pruning can be carried out, except on plums and cherries as it can leave them prone to silver leaf disease.
  • Fruit trees and bushes can be planted in good conditions. For best results choose a place with good deep soil, full sunshine and good shelter.
  • Tidy away rubbish and control weeds. Plant rhubarb now.

Greenhouse and House Plants

  • Ventilate on bright days to allow some drying of the air in a greenhouse.
  • Make sure that a frost protection heater is working if there are tender plants that a hard frost might damage. Hard frosts ‘generally’ occur in the next two months.
  • Water sparingly to reduce dampness and the grey mould it causes.
  • House plants should be given good light and kept away from sources of heat that scorch the leaves.