Gardening in Winter
In winter it may look like nothing is happening in the garden but lurking among the leaf litter, bark, dead twigs, and branches are the spores of diseases and the over-wintering eggs of insect pests. So don’t ignore your garden. A little effort will help ensure when your garden comes to life again in spring it is healthy and not troubled by pests and diseases.
Rake up fallen leaves regularly. Do not allow leaves to build up on your lawn where they would prevent light from reaching the grass, rotting, and killing the grass underneath. Mow your lawn only if growth makes it necessary, but set the blades at least 2 cm higher than normal.
Avoid walking on the lawn when it is wet as it will compact the soil, reduce oxygen reaching the grass roots and reduce drainage.
Tender trees and shrubs should be protected from wind and frost. Move them into sheltered positions or wrap them in wind and frost protecting garden windbreak.
Sweep up leaf litter and dead material on the ground. Dispose of it in your organics bin, burn it or compost it, but if composting, make sure the compost is not used for at least 6 months to ensure any disease spores and pest eggs are killed.
In a frost-free period, prune and destroy dead, damaged, and diseased parts of trees and shrubs. Then protect them from disease and pests using winter protectants including McGregor’s Spraying Oil.
To protect from fungal disease and a range of pests, spray your fruit trees, roses, and ornamentals with super sulphur; first after leaf fall and again in late winter before new growth appears. Do not mix sulphur products with other garden sprays and do not apply within 1 month of applying oil.
Winter clean-up sprays are best applied in still, dry, cool, dull weather, in late autumn and through winter.
Your indoor plants will benefit from some attention in winter too. Move them away from cold draughts and adjust watering depending on whether they are in heated rooms. Most indoor plants prefer high humidity. In unheated rooms, they will need less water but in heated rooms, they may need more frequent watering and should be misted more often.
The work done protecting your plants now will give you more time to enjoy your garden in warmer months. Winter gardens can be pleasant places to spend time, and because you will have fewer pests and diseases to deal with in spring and summer, a little effort spent in winter will let you enjoy your garden with less work in the warmer months.02 July 2022