Although not all fruit trees should be pruned this early, you can now begin to prune back your apple and pear trees. You can also prune climbers away from window frames, doors and gutters. It might be cold outside, but a few minutes spent doing this now will be worthwhile, as when the climber comes into leaf this can be a difficult task. Resist pruning those roses again until the frosts are behind us!
Christmas is over and if you opted for a traditional tree, the environmentally friendly way of disposing of it would be to recycle it into mulch and use it in your garden. Most real trees tend to get thrown away, but the environmentally friendly Christmas lover should look to recycle and reuse.
If you have access to a shredder, saw or snip off branches and shred your pine tree branches and leaves. You can use the mulch to retail moisture, supress weeds and add nutrients such as nitrogen to soil at the base of other trees and shrubs. Any thicker branches or trunk may not be suitable for shredding but can be used as firewood for warming you up in this cold month!
January can offer some difficult weather conditions for plants in your garden. Frosts, gale-force winds and heavy rain can threaten your hard work. Consider sheltering plants or moving some to sunnier positions to maximise light. You should also secure structures in your garden - this includes tying climbing plants and staking young trees before the wind damages them. Patio container plants can be adversely affected by wet weather. So now is a perfect time to raise those pots/containers up off the ground on feet or bricks to improve drainage and to prevent water-logging.
Prevent more damage to branches of shrubs or hedges simply by brushing snow away regularly with a broom. Also watch out for this problem on your greenhouses, as collected snow can damage your roof. Make sure you're knocking it all off and do a check on heaters and insulation to make sure your plants are protected from frosts overnight.
You can now begin to clear away dead foliage from perennials to make beds look tidy and get them ready for spring. Flowerbed soils should also be turned giving you a great opportunity to mix in manure or compost in preparation for spring planting, but beware not to disturb your spring bulbs in the process!
This month should be a great opportunity for gardeners to take accurate stock of their garden, as planting corrections and changes are much easier at this time of year. You can use this time to plan your future planting program to fit in with your favourite specimens.
It might seem a long way off, but now is ideal time to start thinking about your summer flowering bulbs. You can begin to compile a list of which summer bulbs you require and include them in your garden plan for this year.
For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden as it brings life and character. Keeping in mind the bad weather, there are some dangers for wildlife in January. If you have a pond, freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.
Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so January is a great month to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. By allocating just a little bit of time and space in your garden this January, through something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden.