Winter can wreak havoc on gardens if you’re not prepared. While spring is only around the corner, there’s still some things you can do to minimise damage control.
With a little bit of TLC (and weather-permitting), wrap up warm and follow our tips and tricks for keeping it in shape so it’s ready for the following season.
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Keep an eye on your roses and make sure you do any pruning before the buds start to open. This only needs to be done once and aim to do so by March so they’re ready for the year ahead.
Good secateurs are an essential part of any gardening toolkit and will make the task easier. Our gardening testers used ten pairs over eight weeks – see which ones were rated as the best secateurs.
Keep off the grass! You could end up compacting the ground if you walk on it when it’s wet and can damage the leaves of the grass if you walk on it when it’s heavily frosted. If it’s unavoidable, lay down a plank of wood and walk on this to spread your weight more evenly.
Have a look at your hard landscaping – does your fence need any repairs? Do you need to replace any of your trellis? Do it now for best access before the plants are climbing over it.
If you don’t have anywhere suitable inside for tender patio plants, place them as close to your outside wall as possible to keep them frost-free and help prevent the harsh winds from taking their toll.
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It’s not too late to plant any spring-flowering bulbs you have. Just get them planted as soon as you can and they will still flower, just a bit later in the year.
If you’re planning to plant bare root roses, shrubs and/or trees but the ground is frozen, first pop the plants into a pot of compost when they arrive to stop the roots from drying out.
Thinking of growing your own veg? Hardy veg, such as beetroot, spring onions and spinach can be sown from mid-February. Don’t sow any earlier as the light levels and temperatures will be too low. It’s best to sow indoors in module trays of a Best Buy compost for sowing seeds. Once they’re large enough to handle, you can then plant them outside.
Some more tender veg that needs a long growing season, such as chillies, can also be sown now.
If you want to grow your own spuds, wait until mid-March as they’re sensitive to frost. Once you’ve bought the seeds, put them in a tray and leave them in a light, frost-free place, such as a windowsill. This will stop them producing long, fragile shoots which would snap off easily when you plant them.
Sarah Wisson, Senior Garden Researcher, suggests saving egg boxes for the job.
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Prepare your armoury of tools
Give your tools a spring makeover by cleaning them, sharpening any blades and oiling any springs/catches and wooden handles.
Before the mowing season kicks off in March, clean off any grass clippings that are stuck to the bottom of your lawn mower or grass trimmer. It’ll make them easier and lighter to use as well as helping them to cut more efficiently. Try to clean off the clippings each time you cut in the coming season as it’s much easier to do when they’re fresh.
If you haven’t already, ensure any petrol-powered tools are empty of fuel. Petrol is better stored in a bespoke container rather than in the machine because it loses its combustibility over time so you could otherwise have problems starting the tool up.
Ensure you’re storing any cordless tool batteries somewhere frost-free and dry to ensure they stand the test of time.
If you have a garden hose, stow it away in a shed/garage. Otherwise, any remaining water within the hose could freeze, expand and damage it.