© RHS/Barry Phillips
Must do in your garden this month
* Check that your winter protection structures are still securely in place. Winds can be harsh and unforgiving and if plants are not securely tied branches can be broken.
* Check that greenhouse heaters are working. In really cold weather you may need some background heat to help your plants survive.
* Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not those trained against walls).
* Prune acers, birches and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding.
* Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops.
* Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted. Make sure the hole is the correct size and depth.
* Take hardwood cuttings of your favourite plants.
* Keep mice away from stored produce.
* Reduce watering of houseplants.
Nice to do in your garden this month
* You may wish to protect a few holly berries from the birds, for use in Christmas decorations. Netting should do the job, but do leave some uncovered for winter wildlife.
* Prevent premature needle drop on your Christmas tree by choosing a pine (Pinus) or fir (Abies) tree instead of the traditional Norway spruce (Picea abies); these hold their needles for longer. Avoid placing your tree near sources of heat such as a fire or radiator. Cut trees will last longer if stood in a bucket of water or a stand with a reservoir. Saw off the bottom two to three inches of the trunk to allow the tree to drink freely.
* Continue to remove fallen leaves from lawns before they block out light and moisture to the grass.
* Packing the branches of tender deciduous trees and shrubs with straw or bracken, and securing this with fleece and ties, will protect them from frost.
* Remove weeds from around the bases of young trees.
* If there is snow in your area, then you may need to brush it off the branches of conifers, climbers and light-limbed shrubs and trees. Heavy snowfall can splay branches, break limbs and spoil the shape of the tree.
* Take note of the most colourful dogwoods (Cornus), Salix and white-stemmed Rubus shrubs when visiting gardens open to the public, or in garden centres, and consider planting them yourself, for a winter display.
* Re-cut all lawn edges to crisp up the appearance of the garden, and save work next season.