Planting and Moving
This is the time of year for planting bare-root deciduous hedges, trees and shrubs. It also an ideal time to plant Roses, however you should avoid planting in areas where Roses have previously grown. This is because they can suffer from replant diseases.
Newly planted trees and shrubs should be protected from the cold and wind as much as possible with use of netted wind breakers, straw, or a polythene shield to allow sunlight in.
Pruning and renovation of many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can be carried out from now throughout the dormant season. It is easier to see what you are doing when the branches have no leaves.
Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring – such as Buddleja davidii, Cornus alba and Lavatera – can be cut back by half now, to prevent wind rock and neaten their appearance.
Pests and Diseases
Toadstools are often visible at this time of year, and many people are concerned that they may be finding honey fungus. Honey fungus fruiting bodies (toadstools) usually appear on, or at the bases of, affected trees. Similar looking toadstools in beds or lawns are more likely to be harmless saprophytic fungi which live purely on dead material and pose no threat to garden plants.
Phytophthora root rots can cause dieback on mature trees and shrubs. Wet winter weather and poorly-drained soils are likely to encourage this problem on susceptible woody plants.
Coral spot is often noticed once the leaves have fallen from deciduous hedges, shrubs and trees. This problem can be connected with poor ventilation and congested, un-pruned twiggy growth (as found inside clipped hedges), but it is more a sign of unsuitable conditions than a serious pathogen in itself.