GARDENING: Jobs for this weekend

MULCH BORDERS ... using leaf mould, compost, well-rotted manure, or even old gro�bags, at least 2in thick.
MULCH BORDERS ... using leaf mould, compost, well-rotted manure, or even old gro�bags, at least 2in thick.

PRUNE apple and pear trees ­- at least get rid of any branch that’s dead, damaged, diseased or rubbing on another one.

Then spray your trees with winter wash or home­made garlic spray, which will kill insect eggs.

* Mulch borders with leaf mould, compost, well rotted manure, or even old gro­bags, at least 2in thick.

* Plant lily bulbs in pots and in borders during mild spells.

* Cut off old leaves of hellebores that produce flowers from ground level so you can see them. Watch out for hellebore leaf spot.

* Start cutting back grasses that have been left for winter structure ­- the winds will have battered them by now.

* During dry, mild spells, you can still lift and divide herbaceous perennials.

* Inspect stored tubers of dahlias and cannas. Too damp and they will rot, too dry and they will die.

* Some pots outside under eaves or balconies may need watering. Keep them moist (not too wet), and don’t let them dry out.

* Plant bareroot deciduous hedging, trees and roses, staking before planting, so you don’t damage the rootball.

Move deciduous trees and shrubs, if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

* Indoor forced bulbs for Christmas displays, which have finished flowering, can be left outside in a sheltered spot, to die down.

* In a cold snap, place floats on the surface of ponds to keep them from freezing over ­- this can be fatal for fish and pond life.

To make a hole in frozen ponds, hold a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do NOT crack the ice.