Here are a few ideas of what you could be doing this month. Gardening jobs for December will keep you busy this month as you step away from wrapping gifts.
YouGarden’s Top Tip
Do not be tempted to smash ice on a pond with a spade as the shock waves could kill fish or other wildlife. Create a breathing hole by putting a rubber ball in the water before it freezes. Once the ice has formed, remove the ball.
- Alpines need all the light they can get over winter, so regularly remove fallen leaves from around the crowns of these tiny gems.
- Fill your garden with scent by planting a winter-flowering perfumed shrub, such as Daphne odora, Viburnum bodnantese or Sarcocca humilis.
- Control leaf spot disease on phormiums, hellebores, cordyline and yuccas by spraying with a suitable fungicide.
- Keep the base of trees and shrubs weed-free by hoeing. Add any removed weeds to the compost heap.
- Plants in pots are vulnerable to waterlogging over winter, which can cause roots to rot. Raise them up onto pot feet or stand on bricks, to allow excess moisture to drain away.
- Dry, windy weather will quickly dry out compost in pots – keep an eye on containers and water, when necessary, to keep plants healthy.
- Cut off dead stems from wall shrubs and climbers, then tie in any wayward shoots to prevent them from being snapped off in windy weather.
- Remove dead, diseased or dying branches from deciduous trees.
- Cover winter cabbages, kale, and other crops with fine mesh to protect them from pigeons.
- Finish picking apples and pears, storing them in a frost-free garage or shed.
- Prune red currant bushes, cutting back the leading shoot that developed this year to within 7.5cm of the older growth. Reduce side branches to one bud.
- Check stored beetroot, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and onions, discarding any that are soft or show signs of rotting.
- In dry weather, treat wooden fences, trellis, arches, and garden furniture with a preservative to protect them from weathering. Remove any dirt from surfaces with water, allow to dry and wear gloves when applying oil, water, or paint-based preservatives.
- Remove and replace wire supports used for training fruit against walls and fences with medium gauge galvanised wire.
- Make sure compost bays and bins are covered with a lid. A bit of old carpet or heavy-duty plastic will prevent chilly rain from turning the mix soggy.
- Brush any snow off the top of hedges or shrubs to prevent the weight from splaying out branches and causing them to snap.