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Digby's Gardening Tips for November and December

The weather in November and December can still be quite warm and wet but there is a possibility […]

Digby's Gardening Tips for November and December

17 June 2021

The weather in November and December can still be quite warm and wet but there is a possibility of autumn winds which can cause damage to large trees and shrubs. There is also a chance of snowfall during these two months, however, we can still get some bright spells and although the days are shorter the sun is not as strong it is a good time to wrap up warm and tidy and prepare the garden for the winter ahead.

  Don’t forget to keep checking pots for vine weevil


  • Keep cutting down plants around the pond
  • Keep removing fallen leaves and old growth
  • Remove pumps and lights
  • Clean filters and dry before storing


  • Keep raking leaves
  • If weather is wet, try to keep off the grass
  • Weather permitting one final cut on highest setting

Trees shrubs and climbers

  • Plant any container trees and shrubs remembering to incorporate organic matter or root grow mycorrhizal fungi into the planting hole and tease any pot bound roots
  • Stake new trees and tall shrubs on the windward side as this will prevent rubbing
  • Tie in new trees and tall shrubs
  • Check existing ties on tree and shrubs making sure it’s not rubbing or cutting into the trunk
  • Carry on tying in long whippy shoots of climbers
  • Prune deciduous trees and shrubs remembering to take out any dead, diseased and damaged wood. It is also a good idea to check any branches that are rubbing and remove these as well
  • Apply a winter wash to fruit trees and bushes, this will control the eggs, larvae and nymphs of aphids and other overwintering pests, apply when all leaves have fallen

Digby recommends: - Root grow mycorrhizal fungi 

Growing Success  Winter Wash

Pictures of trees and shrubs

Trees for autumn colour

Sorbus Autumn Spire and Joseph Rock

Cercis Forest Pansy

Liquidamber styriciflua

Acer Crimson King

Prunus Royal Burgundy

Shrubs for autumn interest

Callicarpa bodinieri Profusion

Cornus   ‘Baton Rouge’

Skimmia Rubella

Pyracantha Orange Glow

Cotinus   ‘Royal Purple’

Euonymus alatus

Berberis various varieties

Choisya tenata Sundance (evergreen)


Nandina Firepower

Looking good in the garden centre now

Camelia sasanqua in variety

A winter flowering camellia which is highly scented and evergreen

Digby’s Top Tips: -

With the weather now in decline now is a good time to think about protecting vulnerable plants such as tree ferns, banana plants and cannas.

Tree Ferns

These can withstand frost and snow conditions provided they are given adequate protection prior to freezing conditions. Their temperature tolerance is from -10 oc to 35 oc. If the temperatures do drop below -5 oc then the crown will need protecting by packing straw over it and placing a polyethene cap to keep out the rain. In colder areas the trunk can be wrapped in horticultural fleece and the fronds should be tied upright with straw packing in the centre. Double wrap the bundle with horticultural fleece, the root area can be mulched to protect the roots from any frosts.

Banana Plants

The most common banana plant grown in most gardens is Musa basjoo these will tolerate a few mild frosts but will still need to be wrapped if the weather is harsh.

If your plant is in a small pot, then it can be moved into the greenhouse or conservatory.

On large planted plants: -

Remove all the leaves by making a sloping cut away from the centre of the stem as this will prevent rain and moisture going into the stem and rotting

Using horticultural fleece wrap the whole plant making sure that there are no exposed gaps, securely tie up the fleece so it stays in place but not too tight to damage the trunk

Using hessian wrap this tightly around the fleece to add another layer of protection


Cannas are grown from underground stems known as rhizomes which can be left in the ground if the weather is mild. Wait until the first frosts which will blacken the leaves, then cut the canna down to about 15cm (6in) and apply a mulch about 15cm (6in) deep.

However, if the weather is very cold and wet then pot grown plants can be moved to a frost-free place. For planted cannas the rhizomes will need to be lifted as they can rot in the ground. Remove any surplus soil, dry and store in trays with dry vermiculite or multi

purpose compost and store in a frost-free area, no watering should be necessary.

Digby recommends:  

Heavy-duty thick fleece £7.99  

fleece cover

Plant warming fleece covers £9.99

Flowering Plants

  • Carry on cutting down perennials if they have attractive seed heads these can be left on
  • Keep removing any leaves around base of plants
  • Protect tender plants from frost using a layer of mulch
  • If pots are too large to move, then wrap the pot with hessian or bubble wrapping
  • Take in any plants that are vulnerable to frost
  • Cut down grasses and bamboos

Digby recommends: -

Cyclamen Veranda £3.99 or 3 for £10.00 

Available undercover now

Kitchen Garden

  • Continue preparing veg beds providing soil not frozen or waterlogged
  • Lift parsnips
  • Keep picking Brussel sprouts
  • Net brassicas
  • Plant fruit trees and bushes
  • Prune blackcurrant bushes
  • Start winter pruning established apple and pear trees
  • Mulch around existing fruit bushes

As always, we are here for help and advice

Happy Gardening!

Altons Plant Advice Team

Members of our Garden club receive 10% off all plants on Wednesday and Saturday morning.
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