1. Apple Tree Pruning - Now is the time to take care of your apple trees. It is important to remove damaged or diseased branches, any crossing branches and generally prune to 'open up' the inside of the tree. All this will help with fruiting. I shall be pruning a clients tree next week - essential maintenance for an abundance of apples in the year ahead (I may scrump one or two later in the year)!
2. This time of year is perfect for planting bare root trees and shrubs. Simply unwrap them, place in a prepared hole, heal in the soil and water. As with all plants, be careful not to plant too deep. Bare rooted plants are a cost effective way to fill out your garden, so why do we always seem to go for the more expensive potted varieties?
3. If not too wet, now is a great time to prepare the borders for later in the year. Clients of mine that I provide winter maintenance for, will all see the benefits in 2020, as this winter work is essential for a good showing on plants later in the year. This can be simple weeding, cutting out dead wood, removal of some specimens in congested areas, or winter pruning where necessary.
4. Perennial Pruning - there are many perennials where we leave last years flowers and seed-heads as winter structure. That said, they won't be looking their best now, so prune away. You have had the best of them in 2019, now some essential pruning will prepare them well for the year ahead.
5. Build a Wildlife Haven. In all the gardens I provide maintenance for, where I have cut back dead wood, pruned trees, or found old tiles and pots - I always find a place to create a wildlife habitat. Whether this be for bugs, insects or hedgehogs, it's an easy way to utilise what would otherwise be garden waste!