Action for December Top jobs
Top three jobs in December
Now’s the ideal time to take stock of your garden, particularly on a clear, frosty day. Identify any gaps and think about the plants, shrubs or trees you’d like to fill them with when it’s time to plant again.
If the weather’s bad, it’ll be the ideal opportunity to stay indoors and order your summer bulbs, seed potatoes, and veg and flower seeds in good time for spring.
Many suppliers run out of stock quite quickly, so the sooner you get your order in, the more likely you are to get exactly what you want.
Prune apple and pear trees
This helps maintain healthy growth and improves cropping. Make sure your secateurs and pruning saws are clean and sharp so you don’t introduce diseases to the cuts that you make.
How to prune depends on the variety of tree that you have, and whether you want to rejuvenate an old tree or curb a vigorous one. Aim for a tree with an open centre, like a wine glass. For more detailed information see our factsheet.
Clear any fallen debris below the trees so diseases don’t lurk there and then mulch around the base, taking care that the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk.
Don’t prune cordons and espaliers – these should be tackled in late summer. See our factsheet
Take action against frost
Scatter salt/grit on any regularly used paths during freezing weather to keep them free from ice.
If you’ve got a slippery surface such as decking in your garden, you can give it more grip by tacking chicken wire over the top.
Stop the surface of your pond from freezing over by floating a rubber ball on the surface. Wrap up any tender plants with straw and fleece.
Other winter jobs
Feed the birds
Continue to provide fresh food and water for birds. Scrub bird tables once a month to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria that can makes birds ill.
Use a weak bleach solution and rinse off well. You can also put up nest boxes now. For more on what different birds like to eat see our factsheet.
Start saving water
Start the new year on a conservation note by saving water. If you haven't already got one, install a water butt.