December Gardening To Do’s

PansiesAhhh – December has arrived.  Another year of gardening under our belts and perhaps a little wiser? One thing that makes us wiser gardeners is taking notes. This really works as it is hard to remember year after year what works and what doesn’t. You want to repeat the wonderful things that happened in your garden and avoid the one or two mistakes that were made along the way.

Vegetable and Flower Gardens:

  • The mums will have ended and now our front porch looks bare!  Consider adding containers to provide pops of color. Great combinations can be made with Pansies, violas and yes even evergreen herbs such as parsley!
  • Still time to add some Hellebores for winter flowers.
  • Bulbs can still be planted now as long as the ground isn’t frozen!
  • Rake up leaves under fruit trees and remove any old fruit.  Apply fresh mulch under the trees.  This will help with pest control.  Spray with Dormant Oil if you haven’t done so already.
  • We will be spending more time indoors, so now is the time to spruce up houseplants.  Inspect the plants that have been moved inside for the winter to make sure there are no pests.  Bugs find the environment in our homes quite inviting so keep some houseplant pest control spray on hand in case you need it.
  • There are also a lot of flowering houseplants this time of year.  Keep an eye out for Christmas Cactus, Kalanchoe, and Begonias to name a few.  Check out our list of flowering houseplants.

Shrubs and Trees:

  • You can still plant shrubs and trees as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
  • Selective pruning can be performed on some evergreen shrubs such as Camellias, Hollies, and Nandinas.  To prune a Nandina correctly, you find the tallest branches and prune them back towards the base of the plant.  This will help the Nandina stay bushy.
  • Once the leaves have dropped from the trees, it makes it easier to see the form of the tree.  Some trees will need limbing up which is removing the bottom limbs and a good time to do this is when the tree is dormant.  A good rule of thumb is to have two-thirds tree canopy and one-third trunk.  Be careful if you have River Birch or Sugar Maples that need pruning. Prune these earlier rather than later as once the tree starts to wake up in the spring a massive amount of water and nutrients are flowing through the limbs, and if a limb is removed it is like opening a faucet!

Lawns:

  • You may see wild onions sprout up in your lawn over the winter.  These tend to multiply so don’t ignore them too long. They can be pulled up but you need to dig deep to bring up the tiny bulb.  You can also spray them with a herbicide but they are a tough weed so spray them again in February and April.

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