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5 December gardening tips

Despite winter arriving, there is still plenty to do around the garden in December.

Alpine plants for example, can be sown from seed this month.

They need a period of cold to break the seed dormancy, and a sheet of glass placed over the top is recommended to protect it from excessive wet.*

Pond care is another job which can be ticked off in December, especially if it’s still stocked with life.

If it does freeze over, melt the ice by placing a hot pan on the surface. Floating a ball on the water during the winter months can also delay the inevitable freeze, but never smash up the ice as it could be damaging to any fish under the surface.

And it’s also important to keep on top of oxygen levels in the water. In deeper ponds, circulating the oxygen with a pump is ideal, although pruning back overhanging branches to allow submerged plants and algae to continue photosynthesising is also a nifty trick.

Pruning and renovation of several deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can also keep you ticking over during the dormant months.

Pruning Acer and Betula plants before Christmas, for example, is important to avoid bleeding, while the ideal time to prune free-standing or standard apple and pear trees is during the winter months.

Checking your garden‘s winter defences, especially after a spell of bad weather, is time put to good use in the garden over December; making sure any damages are restored to their best.

And finally, as a piece of more seasonal advice, by choosing a pine or fir Christmas tree instead of the traditional Norway spruce, you can prevent premature needle drop. Avoid placing your tree near sources of heat, while sawing off the bottom 5-7.5cm before placing in a bucket of water or reservoir can make a significant difference to the tree’s lifespan.


* https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/december

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