December in the UK brings occasional snow (we had quite a bit here in Welwyn this year) and lots of wet and cold weather. This makes our job as tree surgeons difficult, but it’s actually a good time of the year to get any tree problems you may have fixed for the coming year. The transport of sap around the tree will have stopped due to the cold weather and your trees will now be dormant. The high winds of autumn may well have done some damage to the crown of your tree so it’s an important time of the year to take stock and monitor/action any problems that can be identified.

It is import to protect any newly planted trees, hedges, and shrubs from cold winds and frosts, which can loosen and lift the roots. Gently re-firm them in if you notice this problem, and erect a temporary netting windbreak if there is no natural shelter. Thick dry mulches will protect the roots from cold, and branches can be covered with fleece, or even packed with dry straw and then covered with fleece, for tender plants.

December marks a good opportunity to continue to plant bare-root deciduous hedging plants and trees as well as being a good time to move established deciduous trees and shrubs, provided the ground is not frozen or soggy. If you are planting, make sure you put rabbit guards around newly planted trees and shrubs to protect the bark from damage.