Lavant Horticultural Society, Chichester

Lavant Horticultuiral Society
White/pink blossom of Viburnum bodnantense

A short selection of things to do in the garden at this time, also published each month in the Lavant News

December (to return to January, click on the skimmia to the right).

Apples, pears and soft fruit bushes can now be pruned while they are dormant. However, leave restricted forms, such as cordons, and those trained against walls etc. until summer. Make sure secateurs are well sharped so that they leave a clean cut. Disinfect blades between trees by wiping with methylated spirits (surgical spirit). Stop pruning if it gets down to 4oC, to avoid damaging cells swollen by the cold.

Viburnum bodnantense

Do not prune any of the Prunus family (plums, apricots, peaches & cherries - including ornamental ones) in winter, as this increases the risk of silver leaf infection to which they are prone.

Any pruning of acers, birches and vines should be done before Christmas to avoid bleeding.

Remove the top netting from fruit cages – snow does build up on the netting and its weight can break the frame. Snow can also splay or break branches of conifers and light-limbed trees & shrubs, so brush it off.

Ventilation reduces the risk of fungal infections in greenhouses and conservatories, so open vents for an hour or two on milder days.

Remove any remaining plant debris from vegetable plots, making sure not to compost any diseased material. Now is a good time to dig the plot over & incorporate soil improvers, if the soil is not too wet

Remove any yellowed leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas. This will prevent the development of grey mould and brassica downy mildew. Also, use netting to protect them from pidgeons 

Avoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings. It can damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint-shaped marks.

Regularly deadhead winter-flowering plants in the home and greenhouse, to prevent problems with grey mould (Botrytis). Cyclamen are particularly prone to this problem.

Click above to return to


Click below for

more comprehensive

advice for this month

from the RHS

Wildlife in the garden

Winter in the garden

Click for more information from Sussex Wildlife Trust


there could still be butterlies and moths seeking food or shelter  in your garden

Garden hedges

Click above for more from the RSPB

Click below for new RHS

webpage on plants for

bees & other pollinators.