Gardener's calendar

December in the garden. How to protect trees and shrubs against winter?

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Riccardo Lo Re/unsplash.com

Properly preparing your garden for winter will help plants recover faster from the cold season and green up beautifully in spring. See what work you should do in your garden in December to protect your trees and shrubs for the winter.

Do you think that there is nothing to do in the garden in December? Not really. Leaving trees and shrubs alone for the winter will result in a longer recovery period in the spring. Therefore, if you want your garden to welcome spring in good shape and green up quickly, do the following work in December.

1. Regular snow clearance

Whenever you see a heavy snowfall, check your garden – there should be no excessive snow on the twigs of your conifers

If it hasn’t snowed yet in December, it’s a chance to check the winter coverings on your shrubs and smaller trees, as well as the thickness of the mulch protecting your beds

2. Protecting perennials and shrubs

From time to time, we check to see if the perennial and shrub hedging done the previous month has been damaged. Also check the mounds around trees – if they have been destroyed by the wind, they need to be re-excavated

If you have vegetables in your garden, December is the time to protect the beds from frost and wind. This is also the last time to fertilize with manure (if you have not done it before). Manure should be spread on the beds and left until weather conditions allow you to dig it into the soil

3. Winter protection of trees

If you have fruit trees in your garden, it is worth protecting their bark. Bleaching the trunks will protect the bark from cracking and gangrene wounds, which could develop during the winter

To prevent tree branches from breaking under the weight of snow, you can tie a rope around their crowns to strengthen them.

4. Protecting trees against animals

To protect trees from hares, rodents and roe deer, which like to gnaw at the bark in the winter, you can use orchard sheaths which are applied to the trunks of thin trees. In the case of roe deer, soaps wrapped in paper hung on branches will work well – their smell is an effective deterrent for roe deer.

5. What about tree damage?

It is very important to inspect your garden regularly. This will allow you to spot any damage in good time and enable you to react quickly. In the event of bark cracks or other visible damage to trees, apply horticultural ointment to the affected areas

6. Checking the condition of the harvest in the cellar

Check the condition of the harvest in your cellar from time to time. Vegetables or fruits with symptoms of disease should be removed, so that pathogens do not spread to healthy specimens

7. Remember the birds

In winter it is much harder for birds to find food. You can help them – prepare feeders and regularly fill them with grains, oatmeal or porridge. You can also hang fat balls mixed with grains on tree branches.

Main photo: Riccardo Lo Re/unsplash.com

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