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December

Feb 06, 2008

December

 

Make the necessary arrangements to look after your garden before you leave on holiday, or consider installing an automatic sprinkler system. A dry spell over December can cause a lot of damage to plants.

 

Spread a 5cm thick layer of mulch around trees and shrubs to regulate the soil temperature during hot weather and to evaporate the evaporation of moisture.

 

Hydrangeas also need attention. Feed them with liquid fertilizer or special hydrangea food every two weeks, and add iron chelate according to the directions on the bottle and 20g Epsom salts if the leaves are yellow. Also hose down the foliage regularly to discourage red spider mite infestation during hot dry weather.

 

Keep a look out for red spider mites or 2 spotted mites as these pests can be very active during hot, dry weather. Treat with an appropriate insecticide or organic remedy if necessary.

 

Ensure that the mulch is still adequate to keep the roots cool and to prevent moisture from evaporating too fast.

 

Consider planting more indigenous trees and shrubs such as Cape honeysuckles, plumbagos for a lovely show in December.

 

Disbud side buds on the main flowering stem of dahlias at regular intervals to ensure larger blooms.

 

Keep watering, mulching and feeding roses on a regular basis and continue with the spraying programme against pest and diseases.

 

Cut back spent flowering stems on shrubs like oak – leaf hydrangeas and mock oranges to promote new growth which will bear flowers next season

 

Keep mowing the lawn regularly but take care not to cut it too short. If mowed too short the roots are exposed to the sun, the lawn will dry out very easily and be more susceptible to lawn burn.

 

Continue planting gladioli corms in small groups to ensure successive flowering.

 

 

Check the dahlias are properly staked and keep disbudding them by removing the side buds to ensure lager flowers

 

Bearded irises can be lifted and divided as soon as they have finished flowering.

 

Continue sowing winter flowering annuals such as fairy promulas anemones and ranunculus in seed trays.

 

Feed annuals and perennials with a fertilizer that is high in potassium to promote flowering.

 

Remember also to lift and divide late flowering bearded irises as soon as they have finished flowering.

 

Keep water features filled with fresh cool water especially during hot dry weather.

 

 Sow vegetable and herbs like beetroots, Brussels sprouts

 

Keep water features topped up with fresh, cool water.

 

Keep a look out for whitefly infestation on foliage on plants and fuchias. If the foliage on plants turns yellow and starts dropping off, it is usually a sign that these small white flies are present. Spray with an appropriate insecticide or organic remedy

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