December Newsletter and Tip Sheet

It’s all about the weather

As a nation we are obsessed with the weather, but as gardeners this obsession becomes critical. We’ve had a long hot summer, but recently we’ve had frosts, followed by cold sunny days and cold winds. Cold weather is a gardener’s friend, killing off those pests and many diseases as well as ensuring plants go into dormancy, conserving energy by using the stored sugars and carbohydrates produced during the growing season so that they can survive the winter.


Of course, December is about Christmas; family and friends, turkey and sprouts, presents around the Christmas tree and having fun.

These are some of the things that you may be looking for in a Christmas tree:

  • A reliably symmetrical shape with a branching pattern that really shows off your joyous decorations
  • Retaining their foliage for longer, making them low maintenance and less mess
  • Have soft and glossy needles, which make them child-friendly
We’ve got Christmas trees for sale that we deliver direct to your door, so you don’t have to queue for a tree that’s been cut a few weeks ago, is starting to lose its needles and will make a mess.
Here are three simple hints to make your Christmas tree last longer:
  • Saw a few inches off the bottom of the trunk. This will open up the pores and your tree will be able to absorb water more easily
  • Fill your stand with water and keep it filled
  • Keep your tree away from heat sources such as radiators
Pruning in December will encourage flowers and fruit and a good shape, also promoting strong growth and helps to stop disease. Pruning should be done when plants are dormant as often plants can bleed sap reducing strength and possibly allowing disease to enter the plant.

Here are plants that need pruning in December:
  • Grapevines should be cut back to a main arm
  • Figs should be cut to create an open framework  and control size, crossing and thick stems can be pruned
  • Wisteria, prune all side-shoots back to three or four buds
  • Fruit bushes, such as blueberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries – create a goblet shape removing old wood and leaving younger branches
  • Roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, shrub and climbing roses – cut back the weak stems and leave thick ones
  • Apple and pear trees – (for open-grown trees, not trained ones) prune to a wine glass shape with a hollow centre, removing crossing, dead and diseased branches
  • Deciduous ornamental trees –remove smaller branches creating a bare stem from the ground, up to a metre high. Thin out the canopy and enable your mower to get around them easily.
For more advice, please visit our website for December gardening jobs
December is a great time to re-evaluate your garden structure, the leaves will have fallen off the deciduous trees and borders should be nice and tidy, therefore you can have a real view of your garden. Hedging gives an extra dimension to a garden, dividing space and creating different areas of interest with different planting. 

Here are all the varieties of hedging that we have.


December is an ideal time to plant bareroot trees, hedging, roses and soft fruit.
How to plant your bareroot rose:
  • Rehydrate your roses before planting by putting them in a bucket of water for about 30 minutes
  • Prepare the soil by digging over and removing weeds and stones
  • Dig a hole deep and wide enough and break the soil at the bottom off the hole so that the roots can go deeper
  • Add some well-rotted manure and Rootgrow
  • Plant the rose with the graft union (swollen area between roots and the stem) just below the ground level
  • Backfill soil, firm in and then water

Here is our definitive guide to planting your bareroot tree
Thank you for being a valued customer. All of us here at Ashridge Nurseries wish you the merriest Christmas possible and a happy and fruitful New Year.
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Phone: 01963 359444
(Phones open Mon-Fri 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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