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Temperature for tidying up.

I have seen something online about not tidying up the garden too much before the temperature reaches 10 degrees consistently in order to help all the little bugs and beasties.
I am thinking about the things like strimming around the edges which I had already left throughout the summer.
Feeling very confused as to when the best time to do any of this kind of thing is.
Any advice appreciated. Thanks. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,025
    I've never heard that, but in most winters/early springs we have snow/sleet/frost/rain etc so there wouldn't be much chance to do anything anyway. This autumn/winter has been somewhat different, but that's not the norm.
    I don't do strimming as I don't like them, but I give the garden a general tidy in autumn, and the only things that really get done after that are pruning jobs when weather permits, or the odd bit of leaf collection or cutting back messy perennials.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,878
    If you're interested in protecting wildlife, do take care when using a strimmer - especially if you're using it under hedges etc. Quite a few wee beasties including voles and newts seem to snuggle down and shelter around the perimeter of my garden and hedgehogs etc may be found under a pile of leaves or twigs.

    Personally, I find the garden a rather cold and inhospitable place in the winter months. On milder days I confine my efforts to traditional winter work such as tree and shrub pruning and processing the efforts through the shredder. As we move through February I will (if the soil is not too wet to walk on) start doing some border tidying cutting back dead perennial growth, turning the soil and applying a mulch of garden compost. Some people like to do fence and shed maintenance in the winter but it's often too cold and damp for applying 'products'.

    Like @Fairygirl, I do a reasonable tidy up in autumn leaving berries and some seed heads for wildlife. That way the garden doesn't look too bad until about now. The grass is usually too wet to cut  through winter so, for me, the gardening year really kicks off in March.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,161
    I tidy up when it isn't too cold to go out. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing that can't wait until then.
    I, too, do a bit of a tidy up in autumn but leave whatever I think might be of interest to wildlife - unless it really annoys me.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,248
    I grow a lot of ornamental grasses so they stay over winter to cheer up the garden with their fading stems and flowers.  I start to cut them down to ground level in February.  I prefer to do this on a cool day - 10 degrees or more would be too hot!  I have never owned a strimmer and never would.  I don't like leaf blowers either!  
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • We leave everything to die down naturally through winter and will leave any tidying up until the end of March to hopefully ensure it’s warm enough for any hibernating/overwintering insects to be ok. I also put all the hollow stems from tidying up at the back of the garden rather than the compost in case anyone still needs to be move on.

    The only exception done before March is the deciduous grasses as the new growth might be starting before then - I tend to cut them back in late February
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    My garden is on the larger side and I am old so I find winter invaluable for jobs I haven't/won't have time for the previous autumn/coming spring. I edge beds, remove dead annuals, leaves, weeds and twigs, cut back perennials and inspect crowns for slug damage, prune or trim shrubs, mulch. My OH maintains or mends fences, replaces rotten posts, pulls ivy out from under hedges, clears detritus from the (tiny) stream. It's a good time to get sludge out of the pond and fish up leaves that have managed to slip in. I collect slugs by torchlight at night.
    We have loads of wildlife: one of the compost bins cannot be turned because slow worms overwinter in it and we have a log pile with loads of beetles and a stone pile with lizards. These are never disturbed. 
    I don't believe you can do much harm gardening in winter so long as you are sensitive to specific conditions or habitats and take care to avoid disturbing hibernating beasties, which are usually well hidden away, anyway.

  • Thank you all for the trouble you took with your answers. 
    Our garden is on the large size too and very much left shaggy around the edges which is fine but don't want to allow the grass along the hedgeline to get totally out of hand.
  • @Posy
    Your lizard stone pile sounds interesting. 

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Yes, it's  brilliant! The clay is full of rocks and generations of residents have chucked them in a pile by a wall. (The little walls are all built of the larger examples.) We only discovered the lizards by accident. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,410
    I saw a similar post from a local wildlife rescue @alfharris8, but sometimes there are jobs that just have to be done.
    My sedums had just about disintegrated so l cut them down the other week. I found one ladybird which l transferred to the one sedum that l do leave until later, as it's out of sight  :)
    I should just check over any bits and pieces for anything lurking before transferring the plant material to the compost bin/green waste.
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