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Is it OK to garden when it's cold!

Hi everyone,

I've got a few days off and want to get into the garden whilst I'm at home. It's been freezing overnight here in Hampshire but it's a little warmer today.

The RHS calendar app say that I should be:

Light pruning my Acer (if required)
Cutting numerous plants back to ground level and generally tidying them up
Pruning the Claire Austin climbing rose
pruning clematis

etc

The question is - Is it still OK to do all of this whilst the temperatures are so cold? I'm guessing yes as the plants will be dormant?

Any help would be appreciated.

Ed
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Posts

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,409
    I wouldn't prune while it's as frosty as it is here (Norfolk). The ground is frozen here.
    Tidying up and mulching should be OK. Best not to walk on the lawn when it's white with frost.

    Wear warm gloves and coat!
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Understood, thanks Lizzie
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,326
    edited 19 January
    Keep off the frozen lawn.  You will leave dead footmarks. If you must step on it, take big steps and try to hit the same spot.

    In Surrey, in the sun, it's thawing fast.  Perhaps just wait a bit, or work in the sun (a good idea anyway).
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • It's thawing here in Hampshire but unfortunately the huge mound of soil I wanted to shift is still frozen. Oh well another day!
  • WhereAreMySecateursWhereAreMySecateurs LutonPosts: 1,014

    I'm in Bedfordshire and despite some mild sun the frost doesn't fully melt during the day at the moment. This is the field next door, but my garden remains totally undiggable, too.
    Hopefully we'll be able to crack on with pruning and planting next week.
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,326
    Oh well another day!
    I'm giving it another week!
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,414
    Don't be too quick with the "tidying up" of plants whilst there is still a threat of freezing temps.  The old/dead growth can act as protection  :)
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,326
    edited 19 January
    Don't be too quick with the "tidying up" of plants whilst there is still a threat of freezing temps.  The old/dead growth can act as protection 
    Old, dead growth and things like dead hydrangea flower heads may keep a gentle late spring ground frost at bay.  But will not protect from a good, hard several-night below zero winter freeze
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,084
    I would stay off the soil too. Compaction to a clay soil can seriously damage it's structure. Turning frozen or thawing soil can trap the frost too.

    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,040
    This is why no one does anything in their gardens here at this time of year  :D
    If there's obviously dead growth on the clematis - well above any buds for example, that can be removed. It also depends on the type of clematis you have. Many are late winter/early spring flowering, so you certainly wouldn't prune them. They often need little to no pruning anyway though, and it would be done after flowering. 

    As said by others - some dead looking foliage can help protect plant crowns, but again - it depends on the plants, and some won't be happy if that manky, dead foliage thaws and creates a soggy mound which makes things worse. The freeze/thaw cycle can be very damaging, especially if you get some serious rain/snow/ later too, which then freezes. If you don't get much frost/ice, that makes a difference too, as there's less likelihood of that happening.  :)
    As ever -location and climate are the main factors. I generally don't grow susceptible plants which can succumb to all of that, which also helps. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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