Here Are Your December Garden Tasks
December gardening is all about cleaning up the garden, performing the first steps to having the garden ready for spring, and protecting plants from the oncoming winter. Although days are shorter, there is still plenty to do. Put some coffee in the travel mug and get outside and get busy.
Bring color indoors by potting up some narcissus or amaryllis bulbs.
Apply mulches to bulbs, perennials and other small plants once the ground freezes.
Winter-prune Wisteria, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
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.
Prune Japanese Maples now if needed, as they will bleed sap if pruning is done any later.
Any new trees that were planted this fall should be inspected to make sure they are straight. Also check the stakes and guy wires.
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.
If the fall has been dry, make sure to give ornamental plants some water.
Remove 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.
Lift and store dahlia tubers once their leaves are blackened by frost.
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.
Lift and divide established clumps of rhubarb to renew the plant’s vigor. Sections taken from the outside of the plant are better than those from the center.
Lift and store away dahlia bulbs once their leaves have died.
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.
Avoid walking on your lawn when it is blanketed by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass beneath.
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 now. The equipment stores will get busier the closer we get to spring.
Wash down all of your garden tools and give them a wipe of linseed oil on the wooden and metal areas to help prevent rusting.
Turn your compost bins to mix the ingredients and help the contents to break down.
Continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy.
When watering houseplants, use room temperature water. Cold water may shock them.
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