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Clearing neglected and overgrown gardens before the winter months
Although it could be argued that here in the UK we are yet to have a summer, the autumn and winter months are fast approaching, and now is the time that avid gardeners should be thinking about getting their garden ready for these harsher months, particularly if their plot has any delicate or deciduous plants.
The grass you are left with might not be the most attractive, but this should give you a good base to work up from and hopefully add to when next summer comes round.
If you’d like to avoid using chemicals when removing weeds, there is also the option of using a gas flame gun. This might sound extreme, but it can prevent contamination of soil for when you want to put healthy plants back in the mix, and will also get the job done quicker when large volumes are involved.
It’s not advisable to use flame guns for this purpose during the winter however, especially during wet weather, as most of the gas used will be making the weeds hot and dry before burning, wasting energy and money and also contributing to climate change. Similarly, during the summer when weeds will be dry the flame gun is most effective, meaning that it is best used on isolated areas such as driveways, and certainly not next to a plot that isn’t yours, as there is always the danger of the fire spreading.
If there is room, and you plan to cultivate new plants after the clear up, then starting a compost bin with the waste from the clear up will stand you in good stead for replanting and also future mulching (which is mentioned later).
It’s also important to remember here that many local authorities will have rules on whether certain trees can or cannot be removed, particularly if part or all of the plant in question is on property which isn’t your own. The ‘Garden Law’ website has more specific information and useful links on this (for the UK), and of course it’s always a good idea to contact your local planning office or the Citizen’s advice bureau if not entirely sure.
Mulching is a necessary move for gardens that although overgrown, might still contain plants that you want to keep. Mulching can protect these plants from colder weather, but if done too early will encourage disease and pest activity.
Mulching involves covering the surface of the soil around a plant with things including but not limited to bark chip, manure or even crushed shells. Mulch can provide nutrients for plants, form a barrier against unwanted growth such as weeds and of course the cold, and can also be used for decoration of a plant bed. Which type of mulch will depend entirely on the plant and your desired outcome, but generally bark and rotted manure will provide both protection and nutrients for most types of plants.
If you live in a region where ground frost is likely, then watering before this frost is due is a good step. This will provide the plants you want to keep with moisture before the freezing occurs.
One final thing to do after all this care given to the plants is to take care of your tools. Cleaning sharpening and lubricating them before storing them away ready for use in the spring, and bringing any items which are likely to suffer in extreme cold into storage indoors.
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