Garden Calendar – December
There is little work to be done in this month. Proper winter protection measures should be taken.
- Watering should be reduced but not stopped completely.
- It is the time to plant seasonal flower saplings in beds and as potted plants.
- Protect newly planted annuals, trees, hedges and shrubs from cold winds and frosts, which can loosen and lift the roots. Gently re-firm them in if you notice this problem, and place a temporary netting windbreak if there is no natural shelter.
- Mild fertilizer application can be done to the annuals. Fungicides like Bavistin can also be applied. If some varieties are ready for the flowering, pinching should be done.
- Flower beds and borders should be frequently cultivated and irrigated only as per the necessity.
- Protection of plants from cold weather conditions should be done. Display of seasonal pots to be placed in the prime areas.
- Cannas will be going off and should be given a good dressing of manures and fertilizers and well watered towards the end month. Chrysanthemum will be going off too and should be labelled for identification purposes before the blooms fade.
- Frosty lawns should be wiped off with a stick. One should avoid walking on lawn in frosty mornings as it will damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint shaped marks.
- Mowing height of the grasses should be 3 to 5 mm higher than during summer to prevent turf stress. On average, the cutting height should be 2 to 3 cm (1 to 1.5 inch).
- Pruning and renovation of many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can be carried out from now throughout the dormant season. It is easier to see what you are doing when the branches have no leaves.Exceptions are evergreens and tender plants (these are best left until spring)
- Garden hygiene helps greatly in the prevention of disease carry-over from one year to the next. It is always a good idea to rake up and burn, bury, or throw away infected leaves.
- Remove weeds from around the bases of young trees.
- Check tree ties and stakes. Replace, tighten, slacken or remove as necessary.
Phytophthora root rots can cause die-back on mature trees and shrubs. Wet winter weather and poorly drained soils are likely to encourage this problem on susceptible woody plants.
- Good water management and drainage facilities. Avoid prolonged saturation of the soil or standing water around the base of trees or other susceptible plants. Irrigate only as much and as often as necessary.
- Application of fungicide fosetyl-al (Aliette) may be used to prevent Phytophthora infections