Kyle’s Korner – December Gardening Tips

The cold season has finally arrived, but that doesn’t put an end to the gardening season.  There are still a few tasks you can complete.

General Tips:

  • Trees and shrubs planted at this time of year get established sooner than those planted in late spring.
  • Go ahead and prep your soil now.  Even if you don’t plant right away, your soil will be in great shape and ready to grow new roots!
  • Order your seeds, flowers or vegetables now, so they’ll be available when you are ready to plant.
  • Don’t put the mower away yet.  All the leaves haven’t fallen.  Using the mower can recycle the leaves back into the lawn.

Shrubs & Trees:

  • Don’t be in a hurry to prune your woody trees, shrubs and fruit trees.  Late December through February is the best time.
  • Now is a great time to trim some hollies or other berry plants for decoration.
  • Transplant bare root container grown roses, shrubs, trees, vines and ground covers so they get established before the warm weather arrives.
  • Prepare dormant beds for spring planting.  Clean out dead plants and compost to enrich the soil.
  • Stockpile leaves for mulching and composting throughout the year.
  • Between rows and around plants is a great place to use your mulch.  This will help conserve soil moisture and control weeds.
  • Fertilize winter bloomers every 4-6 weeks.  A nitrogen rich fertilizer will keep your vegetables growing vigorously.
  • Water everything well before a freeze to protect against cold injury.  Never water late in the afternoon.  Foliage should not be wet when night comes.
  • Watch for scale, mealy bugs, and spider mites on house plants.  Root rot fungus thrives on over-watered house plants.
  • Don’t allow your lawn to go into winter with too much top growth.  This can keep the grass wet and dark, causing disease problems.
  • Mow over leaves.  This will add important nutrients back to the lawn.
  • Before storing your mower, run it until it is out of fuel.  Old gas can severely damage the engine.

Other Tips:

  • If there is a sudden drop in temperature, you may need to provide additional protection to your outdoor plants, shrubs and trees.  You can do this by covering them with some type of cloth or burlap.
  • Stay off frozen grass!
  • Glossy leaved house plants should be sponged off periodically.  This will allow them to breathe.
  • Keep your houseplants in bright, natural light whenever possible.

Don’t Forget…

About birds and other small creatures.  Provide them with food and water throughout the season.  After Christmas, set your Christmas tree outside.  This will provide much needed protection and refuge for the birds, as well as other small animals.

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