The December Garden Guide
Spending a bit of time in the garden this month is an excellent way to recharge your batteries, during what can be a hectic time of the year.
What’s more, plants, wildlife and your own garden equipment all need your protection if they’re going to survive the cold weather.
Here are our top 10 tips to help you make the most of your December garden, so that it enters the new year in the best possible shape.
Top 10 December Gardening Tips
1. Greenhouse Checks
Ensure that both greenhouse heaters and automatic vents are working properly so that you can adjust the internal temperature, as required.
Moss and debris can clog up vents, so be sure to remove any that you find.
2. Bird Care
Garden birds don’t just rely on you for food, but for water too, particularly if ponds and puddles are frozen over.
Make sure that you put clean water out for them on a daily basis.
Their lives may depend upon it.
3. Insulate Outdoor Taps
If you haven’t already, turn off the water supply to outdoor taps as they are likely to freeze at this time of year, which can cause the pipes to crack. (The supply is probably located underneath your sink.)
Then, drain the pipe into a bowl and protect the tap head with bubble wrap.
4. Defrost Frozen Ponds
If your pond freezes over, place a hot pan on the surface to melt the ice.
DO NOT smash the ice as the shockwaves will harm your fish.
Better still, invest in a pond heater to prevent it freezing over in the first place.
5. Raise Containers Off the Ground
Use bricks or pot feet to raise your containers off the ground.
This improves drainage and will prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged and damaging your plants’ roots.
6. Firm-in Plants and Check Tree Ties
Stormy weather can expose plant roots and cause disease so, if necessary, firm the base of the plant with the heel of your boot.
Also, take time to check your tree ties.
Ensure that they are doing their job but are not so tight as to inhibit growth.
7. Divide Congested Herbaceous Plants
When conditions allow, lift and divide herbaceous plants to provide room for them to prosper.
This will give you a free source of new plants for other areas of your garden too.
Don’t carry out this task if the soil is waterlogged or frozen as you may damage the plants.
8. Take Hardwood Cuttings and Semi-ripe Evergreen Cuttings
On a similar note, now is the time to propagate a range of deciduous trees and shrubs.
You can also take some semi-ripe evergreen cuttings, for example holly and privet, at this time of year.
9. Prune Trees
Only prune acers for shape or if a branch has died.
If your apple and pear trees are old enough to have developed an initial framework of branches, aim to prune them into an open shape, consisting of four or five branches.
This will aid tree growth and increase their production of fruit.
10. Plan for Next Year and Order Seeds
On days unsuitable for going outside, pour yourself a cuppa and think about what you’d like to achieve in the garden next year.
Get ahead of the game by ordering some new plant varieties for your garden, while they’re still in stock.