December is usually a quiet month in the garden but there is still plenty to do. With 2019 almost over, the shortest day of the year is fast approaching. The weather may be cold but it’s still strikingly beautiful.
Here are a few things you can do in the garden in December:
- Prune roses, wisteria, Japanese maples, and fruit trees.
- Dig over all of your empty borders to prepare your soil for next year.
- Make sure birds and wildlife have clean feeders, houses, fresh water, and everything they need.
- Shelter potted plants together in your garden to protect them from harsh weather.
- Winter brassicas. Remove all yellowing leaves, as they can harbour pests and diseases and aren’t of any use to the plants. Cover the plants with netting to protect them from pigeons.
- Leeks and parsnips. Lift them before your garden’s soil becomes frozen so you can heel them in a trench. They can stay
- Celery. Protect celery plants that are left in the soil with a fleece.
- Beans. Now’s the perfect time to dig trenches for next year’s bean crops.
- Grapevines. Now’s the time to prune grapevines.
- Strawberry plants. Old strawberry plants can harbour diseases, have reduced productivity, and vigour. Replace them with new strawberry runners.
- Fruit trees. Grease bands or glue bands around tree trunks help to prevent wingless female winter moths from climbing tree trunks and laying eggs in branches.
- Poinsettias. Make sure they’re protected from cold draughts and let them dry out a bit in between watering so they’ll last throughout Christmas and into January.
- Dahlia tubers. Lift and store them after their leaves get blackened by frost.
- Alpine plants. Spread fresh gravel around these plants.
- Hydrangeas. If they have faded flower heads, leave them until spring so they can serve as frost protection for the newer buds below.
- Ventilate on warmer days to reduce humidity and lower the risk of disease.
- Give your greenhouse a thorough clean with horticultural disinfectant to kill overwintering pests and diseases.
- Make sure there are no aphids overwintering on your plants.
- Brush heavy snow off your greenhouse to make sure the glass doesn’t get damaged.
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