Winter gardening tips: Six jobs to keep your garden thriving throughout January & February

This Morning: Daisy talks about January gardening tasks

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The onset of January and February’s cold weather can make gardening seem like a difficult task, with many plants falling dormant during this time. However, there are still plenty of maintenance tasks green-thumbed Britons can be getting on with in their allotment or garden. Express.co.uk spoke to some gardening experts to find out their top tips for keeping your horticultural haven healthy this winter.

Service your lawnmower

Your lawnmower may be out of use for much of the winter, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about it entirely.

In fact, according to Chris Moorhouse, category director for timber, tools, building, décor and garden, from Wickes, it is a great time to make sure your lawnmower is in good health.

He said: “It’s unlikely you will need to mow your lawn during January and February, so now is a good time to give your lawnmower a basic service.

“You can do this by cleaning the mower, changing the oil and sharpening blades.”

Focus on paths and fences

Although some of the greener areas of your garden may be dormant as the temperature drops, there are plenty of other spaces to focus on.

As Mr Moorhouse pointed out, “a tidy garden is a happy garden.”

He said: “Clearing paths and walkways of leaves and moss will not only make for an easier job come spring but is key for safety too, avoiding any falls when enjoying your garden.

“It’s also a good idea to repair any damaged furniture or fences during this time, ready for a fresh layer of paint.”

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Look after your lawn

As the weather gets colder, your lawn will not need to be mowed as frequently as in the summer.

In fact, by doing so, you could actually cause more harm than good.

But there are some other ways you can keep your grass healthy ahead of its springtime resurgence.

Marc Kerr, the co-founder of So & Mo, a personalised subscription lawn care solution, advises sprinkling a winter lawn feed to help strengthen your grass.

He said: “Applying a winter feed to the lawn will help strengthen the root system to fight against disease and winter stress whilst maintaining a good colour in the leaf.

“You want to make sure that all leaves and debris are swept up and removed from the lawn, and when it’s frosty, try to stay off the grass as traffic can damage the leaf.

“Finally, as we don’t have as much sunlight, keeping the lawn clean is vital to enable more exposure.”

Aerating soil can also work wonders in helping your grass get vital nutrients.

Mr Moorehouse said: “After heavy footfall in summer, the ground will often be compacted, making it difficult for it to soak up all the nutrients from the weather or fertilisers.

“To aerate your soil, simply pierce small holes in the ground using a rake, Wickes has a great range of affordable tools to help with this.”

Harry Turner, product manager at Kärcher said: “Between November and February, you can get away with mowing less frequently than in summer as the drop in temperature actually means the growth of your lawn will slow down.”

Though grass cutting is not as necessary during the winter, there may be days when you think it is worth taking your lawnmower for a spin.

Mr Turner said: “If you do need to mow your lawn, pick a mild day if you can and never try to cut grass when the ground is too wet, frozen or if there is too much wind and always cut on a high setting.”

Mr Moorehouse added that there are some “simple rules” gardeners should follow when mowing grass during January and February.

He said: “Never cut your grass when it’s wet as this can lead to compaction of soil, making it difficult for it to get all the nutrients it needs for growth.

“Always wait for a few days of dry weather before undertaking this task.

“Your grass needs more surface area in winter to absorb as much light as possible during shorter days so when cutting in winter, raise your blades to avoid scalping your grass as this can lead to brown spots.”

Prepare your plant pots and flowerbeds

Spring is a big time for fresh blooms and budding plants.

Once the season changes, gardeners will likely be very busy, so preparation is key.

The Wickes expert said: “To ensure a good crop, flowerpots and beds should be correctly prepped ready for sowing.

“Clean anything that will come into contact with your seeds as this avoids them growing mould.

“For ideal temperatures and light, investing in a greenhouse will make growing that much easier.

“Otherwise, you can place seeds on a bright windowsill until it’s warm enough to take them outside.”

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Sow seasonal plants

Visions of flowers blossoming are not exactly what one envisions when you picture winter, but there are actually plenty of seasonal plants which need to be sown right now.

Mr Moorhouse said: “There are a host of plants that are perfect for sowing in winter.

“Sweet peas can be sown at this time on a warm windowsill or in a greenhouse whilst certain trees and shrubs do particularly well in winter, benefiting from frost and wet conditions.”

Cut, prune and care for dormant plants

Finally, gardeners should continue to keep an eye on their dormant plants.

Regular maintenance, such as cutting and pruning, can ensure your garden blooms in full colour when the warmer days arrive.

Mr Moorhouse said: “To take care of any existing plants, cutting and pruning will protect them during cold months.

“Do this by removing damaged stems and foliage, a good pair of secateurs are key for this.

“Another tip is to lay a fresh layer of soil to help your plants adapt to the cold and give them a boost of nutrients ready for spring.”

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