Michael Coulter shares his Summer gardening tips on everything to do in the busy month of December including fruit trees, flowers and lawns. 

December heralds the start of Summer and a wonderful time in garden with the ripening of berry fruit and stone fruit not far behind.

We have just received a good fall of rain (69mm) which provides an excellent top up to the soil moisture and will keep plants growing without having to use the hose.

I have been planting out and potting up my chrysanthemums and other Summer flowering plants, these will ensure good colour in the garden later in the season.

I haven't noticed many insect pests on my plants yet so have not needed to spray very often but will keep looking for them. 

Now that the grass has finished growing seed heads I have raised the mower up and fed and sprayed the lawns to keep them looking green.

Citrus plants are growing fast so some citrus fertiliser will be beneficial, also look out for aphids on the new growth and treat if needed. Mulch around the plants to keep in the moisture and the roots cooler when the hot weather is here.

Spring bulbs will have finished so you may lift them or remove the spent foliage, it is a good idea to mark where the bulbs are if you are leaving them in the ground.

Roses are looking great so the usual tasks of deadheading, watering (as needed) and spraying for pests and diseases will keep them looking good all season

Rhododendrons are finishing their flowering so may be pruned and deadheaded, the same will apply to camellias and other Spring flowering shrubs.

Apples, pears and other fruit trees will have their fruit developing and will need to have a spray programme to keep them pest and disease free.

The vegetable garden is now in full production with tomatoes, beans, potatoes etc. growing rapidly; even after the rain they may need to have some more moisture to keep them growing.

As always weeding is one of the important tasks to keep up especially when the weeds are small as this is the most effective time for maximum control.

There is much to do in and around the garden but we also need to stop and enjoy our garden and the garden of others. 

Have a happy Christmas and good gardening.

Michael Coulter

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at coultchrys@xtra.co.nz