The start of December does not only mean that the Christmas season is in full swing, but it also means that winter is just around the corner. December 21st is not only the shortest day of the calendar year but it is also the start of the winter season. While at this point the weather has already begun to descend into winter temperatures, making sure that your garden is fully prepared for the upcoming winter season is a must.
Before taking on all of the gardening jobs that need completing in December it is super important that you make sure you are fully up to date with all things in your garden. You should look back at November’s gardening jobs that must be completed to make sure that you are where you should come the winter.
1 – Rake up fallen leaves
Over the last few autumnal months, there will have been an abundance of leaves that have fallen onto your garden area. In previous months we have told you the importance of getting rid of these fallen leaves. Well, there is no difference this month, it is hugely important to rake up and get rid of fallen leaves before they have been left for too long and begin to decay.
Decaying leaves can become a huge nuisance in your outdoor areas for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that these areas of decayed leaves can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can quickly spread throughout the garden if not dealt with promptly.
In addition to this, when leaves start to decay they also let out a nuisance substance called tannin. Tannin is a very strong dye that will cause discolouration to your lawn and your borders if it is allowed to be produced and settle from the leaves. If your lawn is affected by this tannin dye then it could also be extremely difficult to get rid of and cause permanent damage to your lawn.
2 – Check tree ties and stakes are firm
Over these Autumn and Winter months, strong spells of windy weather are extremely common. This is why it is always a good idea to tie or stake up your trees over these colder months. Wind can cause considerable amounts of damage to plants, especially young and vulnerable plants that have not had the time to grow to their full potential yet.
Tying down or staking these vulnerable plants will minimise the damage that extremely strong winds can do to them and their stems and can therefore make sure that the plants can make it through the harsher autumn/winter seasons with as little damage as possible and therefore make it to spring summer next year where the plants can thrive.
To stake your young and vulnerable plants is extremely simple. You simply put your stake into the ground surrounding the plant and then attach the plant to the stake using a zip tie, bag ties, yarn, wires or anything else that will keep the plant securely in place. This will mean that the plant is not thrown around and damaged by the wind thanks to its support.
3 – Keep your Christmas tree outside until it is time to bring it in
We all know that Christmas is not Christmas without a real tree and we can all get a little eager to put them up. If you put your real tree up too early then you do run the risk of it drying out and its needles starting to fall. Real Christmas trees can be affected massively by the temperature in your house if not watered regularly.
If you are eager to get the perfect tree before they all get snapped up but are scared about your tree drying up and dying before the big day then you can keep your tree outside. The cold weather should keep it perfect and ready for whenever you want to put your tree up in the house.
To preserve it and keep it looking amazing while it is outdoors you should put it in a bucket of water and undercover to make sure that it gets all of the nutrients and water that it needs. It will then be perfect for whenever you want the Christmas season to truly start in your house.
4 – Move plant pots to a sheltered area
Plant pots are extremely common to have all around your garden area. They can add an extra level of decoration and character to your outside area and allow you to plant anything you may desire and have the flexibility to move them wherever you want in your garden.
When the winter season truly begins to kick in and the temperatures begin to plummet it could be a very good idea to move these potted plants to a sheltered area to protect them from harsh weather conditions such as wind and icy conditions.
It is super important to protect these particular plants from extremely cold temperatures as their roots are far more vulnerable than plants whose roots are in the ground. This vulnerability makes paying attention to these particular plants and the temperatures ensure that you act quickly enough to protect the plants.
5 – Place straw around the base of vulnerable shrubs
New and old shrubs can become extremely vulnerable over the colder winter months due to plummeting temperatures. A hugely effective way to protect such vulnerable shrubs from these harsh conditions is by placing straws around the base of the shrubs.
Placing straws around the base of these vulnerable plants is so effective as it acts as an insulator. As the temperatures are plummeting it is hugely common for frosts to damage shrubs, especially vulnerable ones. Placing straw on the roots early in the month when the weather is not as cold will help to trap the warmer air in the soil and therefore act as an amazing insulator that can help the plants hugely over the cold weather.
It is also amazing in the event of snow as it acts as a barrier between the snow and the soil and will therefore keep the roots from being damaged hugely by roots frosting over. If roots frost it can cause the cells within to expand and end in the cell wall breaking.
6 – Bring all watering equipment indoors
Watering your plants is an important job that you should keep on top of all year round. This also means that watering equipment such as hoses, sprinklers and others are hugely important and effective pieces of equipment. Therefore you must keep these items safe and take care of them.
You should always avoid leaving watering equipment out when the temperatures are so low, this is because the extremely cold temperatures can cause the hoses to freeze. If the hose or sprinklers freeze when left out in the cold there is an extremely high possibility that they will split and therefore become useless to you.
Simply put the watering equipment indoors, in your house or a greenhouse when the temperatures are extremely cold to avoid this from happening.
7 – Start to plan next year’s crops and seeds
December is a busy month, and it also marks the end of the year. This means that it is the perfect time to start thinking about what exactly you want to do in your garden with your seeds and crops come next year. Planning will make it easier when it comes to ordering seeds and planting in the spring season of 2023.
Putting together a plan on what you are going to be adding to your garden next year can make it far less stressful when it comes to planting next year. It also allows you to better identify exactly what you want out of your garden and to plan exactly when to plant certain crops to make sure that they are at peak bloom come spring/summer next year.
8 – Set out fresh water for birds
Birds are a hugely important part of a garden as they help to keep nuisance pests away such as caterpillars and aphids. These pests can cause considerable damage to your gardens if birds did not keep them in check. As they keep our garden clean in the spring/summer months, it is only fair that we look after them in their time of need as the weather gets far colder.
The freshwater that you leave out for them will be utilised by them for both drinking and bathing during these winter months. However, as you can imagine drinking is its most important use as birds can often find it extremely difficult to get any kind of moisture through what they feed on. During the winter months, it is especially important as natural supplies may be dried out or even frozen.
9 – Clear away any roses with blackspots
During the winter it is extremely common for roses to be affected by diseases, most notably a disease called blackspots. Blackspots, also known as Diplocarpon rosae, is a disease that attacks the leaves and greatly reduces plant vigour.
Making sure that you get rid of any roses that may have been affected by blackspots as quickly as you possibly can is extremely important to avoid the disease from spreading around your garden and causing considerable damage. It is incredibly important to get rid of these infected leaves to avoid any chance of spreading.
10 – Organise your garden shed
December marks the end of the year, which means now is the perfect time to organise your garden to the fullest to make sure that it is ready for a fresh new year. Some things are hugely important to organise such as your shed.
Organising and cleaning your tools allows you to go into the new year fully organised and ready to get back into your garden. It will also allow you to keep good hygiene in your shed and avoid things like molds and diseases that can cause even bigger problems and considerable damage.