The onset of winter marks the beginning of a dormant phase and period of low activity in the garden. However there are some essential maintenance works to prepare and protect the garden for the oncoming harshness of the winter period is advisable.
Ideally plan your work schedule to be ready to complete the various tasks during a dry weather spell when the ground should be firm and not soft underfoot.
Plants, Trees & Shrubs
Most plants will benefit from some protection, for example, check all tree ties and tree stakes to ensure that trees are secure and protected against any risk of wind rock. Remove any damaged or broken stems and shoots to avoid any risk of plant stock becoming diseased or infected. The dormant season is a good time for planting trees and shrubs. Avoid planting new shrubs or transplanting existing shrubs on any wet days and prepare the planting hole in advance. It is also a good time to rake and weed all existing planting borders and remove any waste and debris. Place a generous layer (100mm) layer of bark mulch dressing which will protect the plants against any potential damage caused by prolonged periods of hard frost. Some shrubs may also benefit from a light clipping to avoid any new emerging foliage becoming frost damaged/scorched.
It is surprising that even in the middle of winter, grass growth is still detectable. Before you put the lawn mower away, final light cut is all that is required. Remove any fallen leaf and apply a winter lawn feed to encourage good root development. Edging the lawn can make an enormous contribution to ensuring a smart and tidy appearance.
Pots and planters should be moved to a sheltered area near a wall, garden shed or fence to avoid risk of frost damage to plants and/or containers. To protect against the plants drying out, apply small amounts of water occasionally.
Fruit & Vegetables
Winter is the ideal time to prepare the ground, simply rough dig the area and allow the frost to do the rest and leave the ground in good condition for spring planting.
Before putting away the garden tools and equipment for the winter and protect against rusting etc, simply clean and remove any excess dirt and wipe down with an oily rag. Finally do not forget to leave out some feed for our native birds.