November Gardening

We’re bracing ourselves for winter, but theirs no time to hibernate! Daylight hours are short and it’s difficult to fit in every gardening task, so use the time carefully to prepare the garden for winter.
So long as it’s not frosty, there’s still time to plant shrubs and hedges as the soil is just warm enough for root growth. It’s also an ideal time to move established shrubs to better positions. From November (and during the dormant season) it’s time to plant bare root hedging. These are plants that have been grown in fields then dug up when dormant and sold without any soil on the roots. This reduces the growers, and transportation, costs. Meaning the cost per plant is much reduced in comparison to container grown plants. Bare root hedging plants are sold in bundles, and young plants are often called whips. Bare root plants should be planted as soon as possible before the roots dry out. If you can’t plant them immediately, then make a temporary trench and bury the roots in 20cm of soil to keep them moist, this process is also known as ‘heeling in’. We recommend a planting distance of 30cm/ 12” per plant for a single row, meaning you will need 3 plants for every meter of hedge. For a thicker hedge, plant a staggered double row using the same distance guides, you will need 5 plants for every meter of hedge. Ensure the planting area is weed-free before planting, and after planting mulch the soil to conserve moisture. Don’t mulch too deeply, 2-3” is plenty as the roots may grow upwards if the mulch is laid too heavily. If rabbits or deer have access to your garden, then spiral tree guards placed on every plant is essential to prevent damage.
Most plants grown in our gardens are fully hardy and able to cope with the variable British climate. However, recent gardening fashions have lead to an increase in the popularity of tender tropical plants and sun-loving Mediterranean plants which will require TLC to get them through the winter months unscathed. Even some hardy plants can be vulnerable in exposed gardens. Cold winds freeze stems and penetrate deep into the soil and excessive winter wet can cause irreversible damage to plants that like well drained soil. If you cannot move susceptible plants into an unheated greenhouse or conservatory, cover with horticultural fleece and place a thick layer of dry mulch, such as straw, around the base of the plant to protect the roots from the cold. Never use bubble wrap on plants, as the plants will sweat. Bubble wrap can be used to insulate pots to prevent container grown plants roots from freezing. Another method to protect plants is to make a wire cage around the plant, fill this with straw completely covering the plant, and then wrap fleece around the cage. This method works particularly well for tree ferns and banana plants.
Top Tips:
• Plant Tulip Bulbs
• Prune established rose bushes by half to prevent damage from wind rock
• Net Brassicas and Gooseberries to prevent damage from birds
• Clean slippery paths and driveways
• Prune apple trees
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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