The Ultimate Gardening & Lawn Care Guide – Top Tasks To Do This Winter
It might be tempting to stay indoors and enjoy a little bit of downtime during the cooler winter months, but your garden needs some TLC before you disappear for the rest of the season. From winter lawn preparation to pruning and feeding fruit trees, there’s plenty to keep you occupied outdoors, even while nature slows down.
One of the best things about winter is that most lawn and plant growth is coming to a standstill – giving you the luxury of more time to get things in order without it regrowing in the blink of an eye. When done right, the steps you take now will also give your garden a fighting start come spring.
Not quite sure where to focus your energy in the garden right now? Here are some of our favourite tasks to get on with this winter.
Winter Lawn Preparation
As most people already know, lawns often take up a large chunk of time when working outdoors. Throughout the warmer months, grass can grow almost uncontrollably. As soon as you’ve cut it, it’s back up to your ankles in days and this rapid growth can cause multiple issues with your lawn. From compacted root growth to going to seed and balding – it can require maintenance 24/7. Now things are pretty much dormant; here’s what to do with your lawn this winter.
If you notice more than a handful of leaves turning brown on the lawn, it’s time to take out your leaf blower. Allowing leaves to stay on your grass over winter can cause issues such as fungal growth, patchiness, and grass browning or yellowing. Blast your lawn into submission, removing any leaves and surface debris – then throw whatever you have removed into the compost bin.
If you already have an Automower® installed, you’ll know that weed control is a thing of the past. Thanks to regular cutting and keeping grass at a certain height, weeds don’t have a chance to grow, seed and spread. In fact, manual mowing becomes nothing more than a not-so-fond memory. If you don’t have an Automower®, manual weed extraction should be done each winter. Locate any weeds on your lawn and remove them by digging down and around the roots, ensuring you remove them in their entirety, then place them in your composter or bin. For more invasive weeds, the Husqvarna 8L Handheld Sprayer and your preferred wettable weed killer will help get things under control in no time.
During spring and summer, lawns often benefit from scarification to remove any compacted layers of grass that prevent water, air and sunlight from reaching the roots. However, it’s essential only to do this when your lawn is experiencing vigorous growth. If you notice water pooling on your lawn or have grass that’s looking worse for wear, aeration is an ideal stopgap to use in winter. Instead of removing compacted grass, you create a series of small but deep holes across the lawn. This allows water to reach the roots and drain away while boosting airflow, helping reduce the risk of disease and grass death.
Pruning & Trimming
Pruning plants and trimming trees and hedges in the winter minimises the risk of infection or disease setting into fresh cuts. Another benefit is that most plants are in a state of dormancy at this time, meaning energy storage moves from the leaves and branches and into their root systems. This results in less shock – especially when performing more rigorous pruning.
Plants and Trees to Prune in Winter
● Apple & pear trees
● Deciduous shrubs
● Fruit bushes
● Summer clematis
Trimming & Pruning With a Hedge Trimmer
When trimming trees and shrubs in the winter, choose a trimmer with a shorter cutting knife to help avoid any accidental cuts to your plants’ main stems or trunk. Before you start trimming, sterilise the cutting knife with 1 part household bleach, nine parts water and then allow to dry. Go slowly and remove any old growth little by little, keeping at least three buds on each branch or stem. The 115iHD45 Battery Hedge Trimmer is perfect for whipping overgrown and misshapen shrubs and getting them into shape, helping encourage healthy growth in the spring. A telescopic hedge trimmer such as the 520iHT4 will make things so much easier for tall branches.
Trimming By Hand
Some plants respond better when trimmed by hand with a pair of secateurs. A great example of this is roses. Ensure your blades are nice and sharp and freshly sterilised before getting to work. Begin by removing any dead, diseased or damaged wood – go as hard as you need to – your plants are more resilient than you think. Next, remove any top growth by cutting at a 90-degree angle as close to any buds as you can. You can cut as far back as you need to, but ensure you have at least three outward-facing buds on each branch or stem. Repeat around the plant until you’re happy with its size and shape.
Feeding Citrus Trees
Citrus trees are best fertilised at the start of each season, but depending on whether they are ground grown or in pots, this could be done more often throughout the year. Pot grown citrus have limited access to nutrition and mineral elements than their ground planted counterparts.
● Ground-planted trees – four times a year.
● Pot grown citrus – Once every 6 to 8 weeks.
Whether you’re growing limes, mandarins, lemons, oranges or kumquats, it’s important to make sure they are free from grass at their base. Grass and citrus are not good friends. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and fail to thrive when grass and weeds leech away nutrition and water from the ground. Apply a wide ring of mulch around your citrus and keep it well-weeded throughout the year.
Deciduous Fruit Tree Care
During the winter, deciduous fruit trees fall into a slumber. Leaves are shed en masse, making it easy to see where any weak, damaged, dead or diseased branches are. Thin branches and last year’s growth can be removed with your hedge trimmer, while thicker branches may need cutting back with a Pruning Saw.
Now is also the perfect time to treat trees with antifungals or your chosen pesticides to remove any fungal spores and potential pests. As the trees are dormant, damage to leaves, buds and flowers won’t occur. Lime Sulfur is especially good for treating deciduous fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum, pomegranate and peach – along with non-fruiting plants such as frangipani and roses.
Reclaiming Overgrown Land
After months of rapid growth through the spring and summer, many types of plants and trees can become invasive. One of the biggest culprits for spreading onto lawns and borders is bamboo. But it’s not the only one. Certain types of fibrous grass, blackberry thickets, young tree shoots and invasive weeds can all be a challenge to remove.
In winter, growth slows for most of these. This is the perfect time to cut any unwanted growth down to the ground, turn the soil to remove any roots, rhizomes and tubers and take back your precious space. The quickest and easiest way to clear overgrowth is with a brushcutter. Once removed, place any roots, seed pods or suckers into the bin. Everything else can be finely chopped and paced in your compost heap.
Start Spring with your best foot forward
Whip, snip and trim your garden back into shape and get ready for lots of healthy and happy plants come spring. With a wide range of tools for both homeowners and professionals alike, keeping on top of your garden this winter has never been easier.
From advanced battery-powered mowers and trimmers designed to improve comfort and output to professional level tools ideal for daily use – Husqvarna puts the win into winter garden tasks. View our complete range online today or visit your local Husqvarna dealer to discover the best tools for getting the job done like a pro – no matter the season.