January gardening tips from the RHS

Despite the fact that it is bitterly cold outside, gardeners should not waste this precious downtime by warming their cockles by the winter fire.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), this week is the time to be dealing with any tree stumps to help avoid the effort later in the year.

The exertion of removing a tree stump is also a good way to keep warm but it is the avoidance of root diseases such as honey fungus that the RHS is more concerned with.

Advising Daily Telegraph readers, the society said that those looking to use the ground for planting should dig a trench around the stump, allowing heavier roots to be cut using an axe or a pruning saw.

The trench should run around a foot deep and the stump should have been cut in such a way as to act as a lever.

Rocking it back and forth after cutting away major roots should help loosen the stump and make it easier to remove.

Other tasks that can be carried out in the garden and greenhouse this week include recycling old plant pots to be used for small cuttings or seedlings, and checking trees and shrubs for winter damage.

The BBC advises gardeners to shake excess snow from trees, shrubs and hedges as although it may look nice, the weight can disfigure the plants.