The sun still remains low in the sky and the length of daylight hours are short, but the month of January provides an opportunity to pay attention to the deciduous plants of the garden, that is those which annually lose and renew their leaves. It is this time of the year that the deciduous plants are dormant, meaning the preferred time for pruning and transplanting.
Young, newly planted trees can grow branches out into other nearby plants and now is the time to prune the misplaced stems, always cutting back to the main stem or at a junction of another branch. Lower side growths can also be pruned to form a length of bare trunk, this is known as a standard tree.
Any dead or diseased branches can be removed and a general prune is advisable to tidy trees and shrubs to one’s liking. If any shrubs which have become loosened by wind they should be firmed up and staked if necessary.
Providing conditions permit, January is a good time to plant deciduous bare-root trees and shrubs, particularly the common hedging varieties such as, Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Beech (Fagus sylvatica).
If the weather conditions are not congenial and the soil is waterlogged, the bare-root plants can be healed in a corner of the garden until the soil is suitable.
When purchasing bare-root plants always look for evenly distributed spreading roots and not ones which are tightly coiled.
The spacing of between each hedging plant can vary, but below is a guideline:
This is assuming a single row of planting, if a denser wider hedge is desired then double planting is required, this is two rows of staggered plants and the spacing of the plants should be slightly increased. In exposed sites, a temporary wind break may be necessary and it must be positioned on the windward side of the hedge. It should remain erected until the hedge becomes established and can support itself.
Other deciduous plants which can be attended to are climbers, now that they are without leaves it is easier to see where the stems are and where to cut. The vigorous climbers, such as Hydrangea Petiolaris, can cause structural damage on buildings so now is a good time to prune. Wisteria can have what is known as its second prune, during the summer, the new long shoots would of been cut back to five or six buds from the main stem, now in January, these same shoots should be shortened even more to two or three buds from the main stem. This should encourage a fabulous display of flowers by early next year.
Written by Oliver David Cook on behalf of Green Landscapes Cornwall
Hello everyone, Green Landscapes Cornwall are sharing with you some ideas about how to implement different features for your garden!