Gardening in December - What Should You Do?

Written by Posted On Thursday, 05 December 2019 05:44

Gardening in DecemberWith the Winter weather well on its way, you would be forgiven for thinking that December will be a quiet month in the garden, but there are more things to take care of, ahead of the new year, than you think!

1. Plant a Feast of Berries

Berries are the jewel of the December season. They both look beautiful and offer a festive treat for birds. If you are looking to plant a few berry trees and bushes to attract some feathered friends throughout the colder months; Holly, Mistletoes, Pyracantha, Cotoneaster, and Hawthorn can be a great choice. Birds will also be attracted to plants such as Rosehip and Crab Apples, but whatever you plan to grow, December is the month to get planting.

Many of the above berries are not suitable for human consumption, so if you are looking for some which you can feast on too, choose Aronia (Chokeberry). These have a bitter taste but are packed full of Vitamin C.

2. Protect Your Fence

When ice builds up on top of your fence, increased weight can put a lot of pressure on the whole structure, and in some cases, cause irreparable damage. Make sure to tighten any fixing, repair snapped rails and look out for rot. If you do discover any rotten sections, re-place them with new fence panels. Make sure to buy from a reputable stockist such as Sansums Sand & Gravel, a leading provider of Fencing Swindon.

It is also a good idea, on a warm(er) day, to coat your fence in a high-quality wood preservative. This will prevent any moisture caused by snow and ice to damage the fence with mould and rot. If you have a pressure treated fence panel under 15 years old, this shouldn’t be necessary, but if your fence panels are dip treated, this is essential.

A coat of paint will add further protection and improve your fence’s kerb appeal.

3. Create Some Interest in Your Garden with Bark and Stems

December is also a perfect tree-planting time. Even though leaves have fallen in the autumn, trees such as the Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple), still have plenty to offer. The paperbark maple has wonderful cinnamon-coloured peeling bark and is a valuable addition to the winter garden. It’s also a slow-growing tree, which makes it a favourite.

Other trees perfect for the winter are trees in the Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) families, which have bright red and golden stems in the winter months.

Cornus sanguinea types are also exceptional, such as the ‘Midwinter Fire’ for providing both red and golden colours.

4. Feed the Birds

During the winter, birds need fresh water and feeding, as short days leave them very little time to forage. Deck out one of your garden trees with millet, berries, rose hips, dried fruit, fresh apple, nuts and special bird foods. Make sure to wash and disinfect bird feeders and bird tables regularly, too.

5. Look after your Lawn

One tip to a lush lawn is to avoid walking on it when it is blanketed by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass beneath. If it is a more mild winter, make sure to continue cutting the grade if it is growing, but to make sure to raise the height of the mower blades to avoid causing any more damage.

6. Protect Your Garden

December can be a good time to protect ponds by catching any fallen leaves with a small net and trimming any dying foliage so it doesn’t pollute the water. You may wake up and notice that on some winter mornings, your pond is covered with ice. Fish can withstand these low temperatures, but not if the pond becomes icebound. An easy way to stop ice taking over your pond and keep your wildlife safe is by floating a tennis ball on the surface.

Wind can also cause major problems, loosening the plants you’ve spent ages growing, causing disease to spread or dislodging them from the ground. When plants are loosened it can also form a gap between the plant and the soil, allowing excessive moisture and frost to creep in and reach the roots.

It’s also a good idea to check that any newly planted plants are firmly back into place and reduce the height of tall plants to reduce wind rock. If you are extremely worried about more tender, tall plants the best thing you can do is move them inside when the weather becomes severe.

The cold weather won’t just affect your plants, either. It can cause containers to crack. So, as the frost starts to set in, wrap them with bubble wrap or fleece.

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