January can be a difficult time for gardeners. The weather can be very harsh, but there are still jobs that can be done to improve the garden, should the weather allow it. Here’s our top ten jobs to do in the garden in January
- Hoe and rake gravel paths and drives
Chemical weedkillers either won’t work or will be slow to show their effects in the cold weeks of January. Weeds do tend to keep on creeping during any milder winter spells and you can end up with untidy looking paths and drives. If the gravel is just loose (ie not spray tarred down) then hoeing out any weeds and giving the gravel a smoothing rake will quickly improve the look of your access routes.
2. Remove all of the stubborn leaves
Even if you have given your garden a good clearance of the leaves in December, it’s surprising how some leaves are either missed or have blown in from surrounding gardens over the Christmas break. Get right to the back of the borders and under the shrubs and hedges. Make sure to compost those leaves for the leaf mould gold in a few years time.
3. Cut off suckers around trees and cut back overhanging branches
With all of the leaves off of the trees it’s easy to see where nuisance branches should be cut. Giving a clean trunk to a tree improves it’s appearance and makes mowing underneath easier in the spring
4. Remove brambles from hedges
If your garden has hedges backing on to fields, it’s surprising how many brambles make their home in the middle of the hedge. Once things start growing the brambles will be the first thing to make your hedge look untidy due to their rate of growth. January is a good time to search them out and at the very least cut them down to ground level to give your hedge a head start in the spring
5. Dig out and spread compost
Now is an ideal time to sort out your compost. Dig out your well rotted compost and cover your borders with a two inch layer. This not only improves the appearance of the borders but also suppresses those annoying annual weeds that seem pop up everywhere in the spring.
6. Edge up lawns
It’s a good time to check the state of your lawn edges. Spreading perennial and shrubs can soon eat in to your lawn edges and January is a good time to cut back any overhanging plants and reclaim your straight edges.
7. Remove unwanted ivy
Ivy can be a real nuisance in the garden. It can creep it’s way up walls and fences, hidden by other plants. January is a good time to spot this silent invader as perennials die back and deciduous shrubs reveal what’s behind them. Also, check trees and hedges for ivy climbing the trunks. If the ivy has taken a good hold, cut a gap in it’s stem and let it die off over a couple of months to loosen it’s grip before trying to remove it.
8. Protect partially hardy plants
If you haven’t done so already, protect ant semi hardy plants in the garden. Dahlias need to be lifted, bananas covered and Cannas brought inside for example. The coming weeks sometimes prove to have the lowest temperatures.
9. Get rid of moss
Damp and cloudy conditions are ideal for moss growth and on paths and patios it can be a serious slip hazard. Scraping with a plastic shovel and using a stiff brush will quickly remove this intruder. Make sure, if you decide to chemically treat patio slabs, that the chemical is safe to use without discolouration of the stone.
10. Clear out the greenhouse
A good time to empty all of those used trays of compost and throw out the broken pots etc. In the spring you’ll be too busy to make a thorough job of organising your greenhouse.