Gardening Tips for December

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In dry weather continue to rake up fallen leaves. Use the leaves to make a leaf mould, which makes an excellent soil conditioner and mulch for borders.

On dry days clean out garden sheds – so you’re ready for the spring.

Get rid of slimy patches on the patio and paving areas by scrubbing with a brush or using a pressure washer.

• Take care of your tools. Clean metal tools by brushing off old soil, wash them thoroughly and dry. For carbon steel tools, prevent rusting by using an oily rag to wipe over them. Any cutting equipment remove dirt and sap using some lubricant.

• Plants in pots are more prone to root damage from the frost, so protect from hard frost by wrapping some bubble wrap or hessian sack around pots to insulate. Grouping pots together will also help.

• Leave faded heads on your hydrangeas until the spring to protect from the frost.

• Plant up winter containers with cyclamen, ivy, skimmia and evergreen grasses.

• Plant some shrubs with winter interest, please see our Plant of the Month for suggestions.

There is still some time to plant tulips as long as the ground isn’t frozen.

• Cover winter brassicas with netting to protect from pigeons.

• Apply greasebands to the trunks of trees to prevent wingless female moths from climbing the trunks.

• Brush snow off the tops of glasshouses and cold-frames to prevent the glass being damaged.

• Ventilate the greenhouse on warmer days to prevent humidity and disease.

• Lift pots for drainage. Use pot feet or bricks to raise pots from the ground to improve drainage and stop water logging in pots over winter.

• Keep ponds tidy from leaves, check cables to the pond pumps are in good condition – use an electrician if you are unsure.

• Check ties and stakes – these should be checked regularly. Make sure ties aren’t rubbing or cutting into the tree and ensure the stake is supporting the tree safely.

• Plant bare-root stock at this time of year. Most deciduous trees are available in bare-root and can be planted throughout the dormant season.

Tie in climbers to prevent them being blown around and damaged in bad weather.

Protect plants from frost in the colder weather using fleece fabric, make sure it is secure.

• Cut down old plant growth as routine, but in colder areas old growth will provide some protection for the plants during severe weather.

• Wash and disinfect bird feeders and bird tables, clean bird baths too.

• Make a pile of old logs in a undisturbed corner of the garden to provide shelter for toads and other wildlife.

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