Check for broken, diseased or dead branches on established trees and shrubs. Using a pair of secateurs or a pruning saw, carefully remove affected branches, leaving a clean cut that will heal quickly. Also remove any crossing or rubbing branches that are causing obstruction. Avoid pruning members of the Prunus family (ornamental cherries and plums). These should only be pruned in the summer as they are prone to attack from silver leaf.
Planting and overwintering
Provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. container-grown and bare-root deciduous hardy shrubs and trees can be planted. Dig the soil well and add liberal amounts of organic material, such as well rotted manure, garden compost or peat substitute, to ensure good root development. Add bonemeal, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, to give the plant all the nutrients it needs when growth starts in the spring.
When the weather is unsuitable for planting, dig a shallow trench in a sheltered spot and heel in any plants that arrive from the nursery. Alternatively, store new plants in an unheated, frost-free area and place moist material around the roots of bare-root plants, planting out when weather improves.
Ensure that stakes are inserted properly, are of a suitable size and that the tree or shrub is correctly tied to the stake.
Bare-root plants for hedges may arrive when the soil is frozen or waterlogged. If they have been packed in bundles, open them out to allow air to circulate and prevent rotting. Cover roots with straw, hay or similar material and store in a an open, rodent-free place. Keep just moist to avoid dehydration.
Stand container-grown plants in a sheltered corner, but not under protection. Normally, these do not require watering but keep a careful watch on evergreens if planting is delayed for long. Plant out once the soil is workable. The establishment and successful development of hedges depend on well-prepared soil.
Take hardwood cuttings and insert them in a prepared trench if the weather is mild.