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January Pruning Tips and Garden Care

by Adam Howarth, Editor

January Pruning Tips and Garden Care is the second in a two-part series of articles designed to help you get your garden off to the best possible start in 2021. Click here for the first part.

Many thanks to Thompson & Morgan for this handy information. Please pay their site a visit for some top deals and lots of great gardening advice.

The magnificent feature image is by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash.

When you’re making your New Year’s resolutions in a few weeks’ time, don’t forget to include your poor neglected garden! It’s probably looking a little forlorn and sorry for itself at the moment so it’s time to take some affirmative action!

Jobs in the garden this month are mostly about keeping things trim and tidy and getting ready for the year to come. If you’re itching to get g(r)o(w)ing, there are a few things you can do.

Timely Tips

January Pruning Tips and Garden Care - Continue looking after wildlife
Make sure you care for the wildlife in your garden during snowy weather (photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash)

It might be cold outside, but there are still plenty of jobs to do in the garden this month. Here are the main ones:

  1. Put your new-year enthusiasm to good use by cleaning pots, tools, water butts and greenhouses in preparation for spring. It’s not the most glamorous of tasks, but it will set you up for a great growing season.
  2. Start planning what you want to do with your garden in the months to come. Now is the time to order seeds and plants from the comfort of your armchair.
  3. Check your winter protection is still working for you – survey any stakes, supports and ties that the elements might have damaged.
  4. Continue looking after wildlife – put out food for hungry birds or animals and continue to leave some areas of your garden uncut for shelter until the spring.

In the Flower Garden

January Pruning Tips and Garden Care - Deadhead winter pansies
Deadhead winter pansies (photo by Marieke Tacken on Unsplash)

Many garden plants benefit from pruning at the right time of year and in the right way. Plants are at their most dormant in winter so it is an ideal time to do this and stimulate growth. Pruning in winter can also help control or prevent the spread of disease. Remember, however, that not all plants are suitable for winter pruning.

  • Prune your wisteria – cut back summer side shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
  • Prune rose bushes –January is the perfect time to do this as roses are still dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses. Clip the old foliage from ornamental grasses before new growth begins – cut back to within a few centimetres of the ground.
  • Tidy up perennials. Cut down the old stems of perennial plants like sedum – be careful of any new growth.
  • Remove old hellebore leaves – this will make new blooms more visible as they emerge this spring.
  • Cut back willows. Trim the damaged, diseased and the oldest stems of brightly-coloured willows; thin out overcrowded stems.
  • Deadhead winter pansies. Remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed.

In the Vegetable Garden

Harvest parsnips and leeks
Harvest parsnips and leeks (picture by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash)

The vegetable garden might feel quiet in January, but there are still plenty of jobs to do this month. If you want an excuse to get outdoors on a fine, January day, here are some things to be getting on with:

  • Harvest parsnips and leeks – now’s the perfect time to do this.
  • Protect potato grow bags with horticultural fleece on cold nights if your greenhouse is unheated.
  • Remove yellowing leaves from winter brassicas– they’re of no use to the plant and can harbour pests and diseases.
  • Prepare the ground for early peasPlace a cloche over the soil this month, to help warm up the ground for a few weeks before sowing.

In the Fruit Garden

Prune gooseberries in January to encourage growth next summer
Prune gooseberries in January to encourage growth next summer (photo by Floraf on Unsplash)

Here are the main jobs to do in your fruit garden this month:

  • Begin pruning apple and pear trees – if you haven’t done so already; it’s best done while the plants are still dormant.
  • Prune blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants to maintain a productive framework.
  • Leave plums, cherries and apricots alone until the summer – pruning them now will only make them susceptible to silver-leaf infection.
Other jobs
  • Force rhubarb plants by placing an upturned bucket or bin over the crown. The tender pink stems will be ready in about two months’ time.
  • Order fruit bushes, such as currants, now and plant in a well-prepared bed in a sheltered position; they will be a lot tastier than supermarket produce!

We hope you’re enjoying our article “January Pruning Tips and Garden Care”. For more of our gardening articles, please click here.

Looking After Your Lawn

January Pruning Tips and Garden Care - Brush heavy snow off hedges and conifers
Brush heavy snow off hedges and conifers (photo by Isabel Noschka on Unsplash)

Avoid walking on your lawn whenever it is blanketed by heavy frost or snow as this will damage the grass beneath.

Other Jobs Around the Garden

Here are some other jobs you can do around the garden this January:

  • Get a headstart on weeds. Remove any lurking weeds – roots and all – from borders.
  • Remove heavy snow from greenhouses and cold frames to prevent glass being damaged.
  • Brush heavy snow off hedges and conifers to prevent the branches from snapping under the weight.
  • Shred your Christmas tree and add it to compost bins. Alternatively, the stripped-down branches make great pea sticks.
  • Feed the birds – hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up to attract birds, which will, in turn, eat garden pests.
  • Remove slimy patches from patios and paving – scrub with a broom or blast with a pressure washer.
  • Plant amaryllis bulbs in pots for spectacular indoor flowers in early spring.
  • Move potato planters inside as frost will kill the foliage.
  • Inspect fruit and vegetables in storage and remove any that are diseased.
  • Check dahlia tubers in storage and remove any that are showing signs of rotting.
  • Water indoor plants. Central heating can dry the air in your home and cause damage to indoor plants. Mist house plants regularly and stand them on a tray of pebbles filled with water to increase humidity.

From Your Armchair

Order fruit trees ready for planting in spring
Order fruit trees ready for planting in spring (photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash)

January is a great time to plan your garden for the year ahead. Make the most of this quieter time to do the following garden admin from the comfort of your armchair:

  • Plan your vegetable plot. Consider good crop rotation to prevent pests and diseases building up in the soil.
  • Draw up a garden plan to help decide the quantities of each seed you need.
  • Spring-planting crowns and tubers – think about dedicating a bed to perennial vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb and artichokes.
  • Order fruit trees now for spring planting.
  • Consider buying some clematis.
  • Order fuchsias, geraniums and lobelia, in preparation for the busy spring period.

We’ve used Thompon & Morgan’s fantastic gardening site to bring you most of the information in this article. Visit it to get loads more great gardening tips.

We hope you enjoyed our article “January Pruning Tips and Garden Care”. For more of our gardening articles, please click here.

The magnificent feature image is by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash.

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