Our Top Tips For The Season

 

Prune your apples and pears

It’s time to prune apples and pears to ensure a good crop of fruit for the following year. The aim is to create a goblet type shape.

Here's a video on how to prune your tree:

Remove diseased and broken branches from trees and shrubs

As a rule, this is best done by taking the branch back to the main trunk. Disinfect the secateurs or saw with household disinfectant between cuts to avoid spreading disease. Paint the wound with Seal n Heal. This protects the trees from frost and helps seal cuts until trees produce their own natural callus.

Rake up leaves

Rake up leaves of fruit trees and roses and burn or destroy them as they harbour disease over the winter. Don't put on the compost heap as it helps avoid the spreading of diseases.

The rose bushes

Keep rose bushes free from fallen leaves – dead leaves encourage black spot.

Greasebands

Apply greasebands to the trunks of fruit trees. This is one way to prevent certain insects from climbing up the trunks and laying eggs.

Decorate your house with holly

If you want to decorate your house with holly for Christmas, clip the trees now before the birds eat all the berries. Put the stems in a bucket of water until you are ready to use them in your decorations.

Make a Christmas wreath from Willow

Willow makes a wonderful foundation for making a Christmas wreath. It’s elastic by nature and twists well into a circular structure. We always make our own wreaths at Ashridge and gather friends around to make the occasion more festive. We use skimmia, holly, Nordic pine branches and plenty of ivy in ours, as well as fruit.

If you're not sure how to make one, but would like to, it's worth checking the National Trust site for classes

Prune your Acers

All Acers should be pruned now otherwise they bleed sap later.

Keep hydrangea heads until spring

Keep the faded head on any hydrangea until spring. The dead heads supply frost protection.

Plant some Spring Bulbs

Think of spring bulbs – it’s not too late to plant tulips.

There are some great colours and ideas in this blog post on 'Bulbs to brighten your world'

Prepare the soil for spring planting

Prepare soil now for planned spring planting. It replenishes nutrients, suppresses weeds and protects the life of the soil as the winter weather sets in. It also helps keep the soil warm and moist.

Replace older strawberries

Order new strawberries if they are more than three years old. The older varieties tend to bear less fruit. There is more advice here

 

Pear Recipes

Here are two recipes from the blog for pears:

Preserved Pear Recipe

Baked Frangipane Pear Recipe

 

The Greenhouse

Disinfect and clean your greenhouse. It means that you can reduce bugs, diseases and infection

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