Winter hedge care this Autumn

Care for your hedges this Autumn

 

By FR Jones expert Charlie

 

Autumn is a beautiful time of the year and the favorite season of many. This is because many of our plants and trees change colour giving our gardens and countryside a whole new vibe!

 

Trees have the amazing capability to sense the weather change and begin to prepare themselves for cold winters. This includes, what is known as going dormant – which is like their version of hibernation. Additionally deciduous trees lose their leaves and slow their growth to prevent any damage through frost and other extreme environmental changes. Our FR Jones experts have been receiving many questions recently, relating to the caring of and protection of hedges throughout the winter, and well, that starts now! Pruning any plant can be a chore, but an important one none the less! You can help your leafy garden surroundings cope with some of the negative effects that the winter season has to offer by taking your time to trim your hedges.

 

This is one of the best ways you can boost your hedges’ defense against pests and diseases. Not only that but by pruning, you will promote green growth within the plant which will have the chance to harden off before the frost hits. One thing to remember is, when trimming your hedges this autumn, you need to be sure you remove all the dead, dying and diseased wood within your hedge. Additionally, remember to remove competing branches (branches that cross with others causing chafing) as these infect the healthy ones.

 

Don’t forget, dead leaves will also need to be removed as pests, especially insects, will enjoy the winter in hollow straws and seed stems. Remember – a trim is just a trim… don’t go to town and start taking half the hedge out. This can have a detrimental impact on the plants strength and health. Frost can damage cuts and freeze the back branches. By cutting too much the plant will suffer frost damage that will be irreversible in spring. Cutting less is more.

 

If working on external or public hedges, remember to blow away the leaves from paths and be sure to trim parts of hedges that have strayed too far next to roads or blocking pavements. By blowing the leaves away will prevent the paths from becoming slippery but also – think about raking up the leaves and creating your own compost heap. Putting them on your compost will give you a lovely fertilizer for when spring comes around but also provide a nice warm place for species such as hedgehogs to survive the coldness of the winter. Remember… Maintain your equipment before you undertake trimming your hedge!

 

Make sure you have sharp cutting tools before using them to minimize the risk of tearing the branches. We recommend using a pair of Felco secateurs for a good cut – but you must remember to keep the blades sharp with a sharpener. When the blades have been sharpened until there is nothing left to cut with, simply replace the blade. To prune small and rounded hedges – use sharp shears with wavy blades, this will reduce tearing. For long straight hedges – make life easier for yourself by using a powered hedge trimmer.

 

Finally for those leaves – Treat yourself to a Stihl BG 56 or BG 86 C-E petrol blower to aim at the hedge to remove the lose leaves and effortlessly blow the fallen leaves to a corner so that all you have to do is rake them up.

 

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