Site Overlay

December Activities

Not too different from last month’s – watch for heat stress and pests, and keep at the vigorous growth. Don’t let your trees, particularly the fast growers like Celtis, Clerodendrums and figs get away from you – it wastes growing time and the tree’s energy if you have to cut back too much of the seasons growth as a result of letting them grow out of design. Trees being grown on can be let run (e.g. if you are trunk or branch thickening) but do remove anything growing in an obviously wrong place – some shaping should be done even during this building phase.

Care is now motivated by the demands of the hotter weather. Protection from the midday and afternoon sun for deciduous and other more delicate trees to prevent dehydration and burning of the new growth should be considered. Shade houses or large trees are ideal. If you are going to be away all day and it is going to be hot (34°+), move your trees into shade to protect them. Rotate trees for even growth over the tree. Watch your trees, as they all have different tolerances. Leaf burn could indicate too much light; elongated branches – too little light.

Wiring needs to be checked regularly during this period of vigorous growth to prevent cutting and scarring.
Watering demands will increase with the warmer conditions. Trees should almost dry out before watering, but heat; low humidity and hot dry winds will all increase the drying rate. Hotter days may require two waterings per day, or at least an evening misting to increase humidity. Morning watering is preferable, as evening watering has to hold the tree overnight, but may not last through the following day. Ground covers and mulch will maintain a higher humidity in the area. Plants in small pots and delicate plants may benefit from being stood above a water tray. Swamp cypress will boom if stood in a water tray, as the name suggests, they love wet feet. Watch pines especially if it is rainy and humid – they hate wet feet, but love the sun. Tilting the pot with a chock will facilitate drainage.

Feeding demands are high due to the trees’ growth. A little often is better than occasional heavy feeds. In the hottest period though, demand for food will decrease.

Deciduous trees have slowed down. Overgrown branches can be cut back to the required length. Watch the growth in the apex – try to keep it a little open to allow even light penetration.

Figs should be growing well – repotting can be done now. Avoid doing it on very hot, dry, or windy days. Don’t do natives if they have any new growth on them.

Pests and diseases may be busy – treat accordingly and as appropriate. Check your figs for scale attack. As we start to get regular rain and humidity, root rot is a chance – if these conditions occur, you may want to water with an anti-fungal every couple of months. Remember that healthy trees have a great immunity to attack.