Want to keep busy in the garden during December? There's plenty to do, from clearing leaves, cutting back overgrown hedges, pruning Acers and Betulas, planting new fruit trees and bushes and more... check out our full hints and tips by our chairman and horticulturist, John Richardson below.
After the heavy November rain, fallen leaves are becoming a congealed mass in many gardens Try and clear them to the compost heap before they begin to rot and affect many of the plants, such as herbaceous, alpines, low-growing shrubs and plants in containers.
Ensure that outside taps and taps in unheated buildings are well insulated, and turn off the stop taps to prevent the possibility of them freezing.
Clear leaves off the lawn and replace any damaged areas of turf with new turfs from a less obvious location on the lawn.
Take the opportunity to cut back overgrown hedges, either mechanically on deciduous plants by the use of a saw or secateurs on large-leafed evergreens such as laurel or rhododendrons. Wait until growth starts again in the spring before pruning conifer hedges.
Clean moss and lichen from paths and walls. There are several brands of commercial cleaners available, but bleach is equally as good. A power washer will make light work of the job, which is impressive when completed!
If you intend to get on with early winter digging, cover a suitable area with polythene so that the ground is not waterlogged when you wish to dig.
Lower temperatures and snow are forecast; make sure your bird feeding stations are clean and regularly refilled. The same applies to an accessible water supply. Remember, cooked food for birds instead of bird seed may attract vermin.
If heavy snow falls, try and make some time to brush or shake it off trees and shrubs where it is likely to cause breakage to branches due to the weight of the snow.
If rabbits are a problem in your area, protect newly planted shrubs with rabbit guards or wire netting to prevent them from damaging the stems.
Prune Acers and Betula species before mid-December to prevent wounds from bleeding. Do not prune Hamemellis, Chimonanthus, Forsythia etc., until after flowering.
Plant new fruit trees and bushes in clean fertile soil and stake as appropriate for the plant and subsequent growth intention.
Take hardwood cuttings of a range of woody trees and shrubs as recommended.
Thoroughly clean and oil all garden tools, and sharpen those with cutting edges. Change the oil in the lawnmower to be ready for next season.
Check stored fruits for signs of rotting and throw out damaged fruit for the birds.
Any plants which are now too big for their location or ‘in the wrong place’ can be safely moved. The soil in December is usually warm enough to stimulate the production of new roots. Stake tall new plants to prevent wind rock until well-rooted, and reduce their size if appropriate.
Move permanent container plants such as Camellias into the shelter in the lee of walls.
Posted 5th Dec 9:45am