Last summer, aphids (greenfly) were a real plague on our fruit trees causing leaves to curl up and reducing cropping. As we try to become more environmentally conscious by reducing our use of synthetic chemical pesticides, we need to use products that are based on materials sourced from plants. Spraying fruit trees with our plant-based winter washes will reduce aphid eggs and infestations of these troublesome pests in spring and summer. If any aphids survive, SB Plant Invigorator is plant oil based and kills the pest by a physical rather than chemical action and contains a growth stimulant.
Hanging bird feeders in your apple trees may also reduce aphids as birds such as blue tits will feed on the aphid eggs as well as the supplied bird food.
Clearing leaves around fruit trees and roses will help to reduce diseases such as scab, mildew, and blackspot. It is possible to compost them but try to mix leaves with other materials in the compost bin to raise the temperature during the composting process to kill off any pathogens.
Winter is a great time to reduce your weeding during the busy spring and summer period by applying a generous layer of bark mulch to your borders. Apart from reducing weeds, mulching helps to conserve moisture and reduce frost damage to roots. Always weed the ground thoroughly before applying a bark mulch as perennial weeds such as dock and couch grass can grow back through the mulch. A 5 cm (2 inch) layer of bark is ideal but try to keep the bark away from the bark of trees and shrubs as this may encourage rotting at the base.