15 gardening tips for December

The days are short, and the festive season is almost here, but there’s still time to do a little gardening! On dry days, seize the chance to put on your jacket and boots, get outdoors, do a bit of planting and get things in good shape for next year. Here are our top 15 gardening tips for December.

Top 15 gardening tips for December

  1. Provided the soil isn’t waterlogged or frozen, December is an excellent month to plant bare-root shrubs and trees or to move existing plants while they are dormant. 

  2. There’s still time to plant tulips and daffodils in pots and borders for a fantastic display in spring!

  3. Clear leaves from flowerbeds to stop slugs and snails hiding under them. If any of the leaves are affected with fungal diseases like black spots, don’t put them on a leaf pile or compost heap, but dispose of them in your council green waste bin instead.

  4. While there’s less to do in the garden, now’s the chance to do some tool maintenance. Clean your garden tools, sharpen secateurs and shears and get the lawnmower serviced. 

  5. Mulch beds with garden compost, soil conditioner or well-rotted farmyard manure. Spread a thick layer (at least 5cm) over the beds and leave the worms to work it into the soil over winter. 

  6. Wrap pots in bubble wrap and place them on pot feet to stop them from getting waterlogged over winter.

  7. Prune climbing roses, remove any dead wood, tie in new shoots and cut back flowered side shoots by two-thirds.

  8. Although Japanese maples don’t need regular pruning, if you need to remove any branches, do it now while the trees are dormant and won’t ‘bleed’ when cut. 

  9. Prune grape vines, cutting back side branches to one or two strong buds from the main stem.

  10. Look after your garden birds in winter by keeping bird feeders topped up and bird baths ice-free so that the birds have somewhere to eat, drink and wash.

  11. Clear fallen leaves off lawns so the sunlight can reach the grass. Collect the leaves into leaf piles or store them in black bags somewhere out of sight. In a year or so, they’ll break down into leaf mould, which is a fantastic soil conditioner.  

  12. Avoid walking on the lawn in the snow or if it’s very muddy, as you might damage the grass.

  13. Lift dahlia bulbs after the first frosts have blackened the leaves. Cut off the stems and leave the tubers to dry for a couple of days, then store them somewhere cool and dry over winter in trays filled with compost.

  14. Check your houseplants to make sure they are not near a radiator, as this will dry them out. Water houseplants less frequently in winter.

  15. It’s time to harvest those winter veg for delicious warming soups and stews! Leeks, brussels sprouts, and winter cabbage should all be ready to harvest now. 

Whether you’re looking for plants and seeds or Christmas trees and fairy lights, you’ll find everything you need in our centre this December! 

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