Timely Garden Tips For December

  • Prune climbing roses now; cutting away diseased or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Prune older flowered side shoots back by two thirds of their length.
  • Leave the faded flower heads on your hydrangeas until the spring, as they will provide frost protection to the swelling buds further down the stems.
  • Gather up fallen leaves from around the base of rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, to reduce the chance of infection next year.
  • Harvest holly with berries for making Christmas garlands and Christmas wreaths; stand them in a bucket of water until you’re ready to use them.
  • If you still haven’t planted your tulip bulbs there is still time, provided the ground isn’t frozen.
  • Remove yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas as they are no use to the plant and may harbour pests and diseases.
  • Dig over empty borders and pile manure on top – let the worms and frosts break up the clods of soil.
  • Try digging a trench where you will be growing your beans next year – fill it with compostable kitchen waste (not cooked food) and cover with soil again. This will rot down and improve the growing conditions for your beans.
  • Now is the perfect time to prune fruit trees to maintain an open, balanced structure and encourage quality fruit production. However plums, cherries and other stone fruits should not be pruned until the summer as winter pruning will make them susceptible to silver leaf fungus.
  • Prune grape vines.
  • Keep clearing leaves off the lawn to let the light in and prevent dead patches appearing.
  • Send your lawnmower and shears to be serviced and sharpened while they are in less demand.

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