December

December is the time to reflect on the past year, and plan for the new year.  What will add the beauty of your home.  Remember your gardening friends, give them started plants or shrubs.

  1. Complete the planting of spring flowering bulbs. Tulips may be planted as late as early January and still do well if properly refrigerated and chilled 45 to 60 days prior to planting.
  2. Select and plant needed woody landscape plants. Winter planting allows the new plantings to become well established prior to spring growth and summer heat.
  3. Cut mums back once flowers fade and foliage is killed by cold to encourage new shoots from the base when growth resumes next spring.
  4. Protect tender outdoor plants from winter cold with a 4-6 in mulch.
  5. Shape hollies and use the pruning for Christmas color. Remember hollies produce berries on old or second year growth. Avoid cutting back too much of the current
    season’s growth as this is where next year’s berries will be formed.
  6. Be sure to supply supplemental moisture for newly planted landscape materials during dry winter periods. Adequate soil moisture will help prevent freeze damage.
  7. Compost fallen leaves make an excellent organic soil for spring and summer gardening. Don’t allow fallen leaves to collect on lawns to block off light and air.
  8. Select and plant pansies now. They make excellent color in the bulb beds. Feed established pansy plantings. “Crystal bowl”, “Imperial” and “Majestic” series or types
    of pansy hold well in late spring and early summer heat.
  9. Transplant wad plants during the cold dormant season. Prune 1/3 of top growth to compensate for root loss. Plant at the plant’s normal.growing depth in well prepared
    soil.
  10. Good time to make that dormant oil spray to control scale. Follow instructions on label to avoid damage to plant.
  11. Mistletoe will remain fresh and hold its decorative berries if the end of the stem is dipped in wax to seal off possible moisture loss. Mistletoe berries are poisonous.
  12. Keep soil in potted poinsettias and other holiday plants moist, but never extremely wet or overly dry. Protect the plants form heat vents. All potted holiday plants heed natural light and do best when not exposed to direct sun.
  13. Consider using a living Christmas tree this year so it can be recycled to the landscape. Upright junipers, cherry laurel, Japanese black pine, deodora cedar, cleyera and Virginia pine are good choices.
  14. Still time to sow annual ryegrass to hold the soil in that new yard. Sow 5 lbs. per 1,000 sq. feet of lawn area.
  15. Clean vegetable gardens and annual bed, of weeds and old plants to prevent a carry-
    over of insects, diseases and weed seed.
  16. Last minute shopping suggestions for that gardening friend: a new gardening book, a subscription to a garden magazine, a plant, a nice container, good labor-saving tools, or even a promise of a rooted cutting from a the plant in your yard.
  17. Watch those aphids! They can build up rapidly on winter annuals.
  18. Control camellia petal blight. Clear off old mulch and other debris under the plant. spray ground beneath and around the plant with PCNB (Terraclor). Replace the old
    mulch with a clean new material. Pick all flowers as they fade or any that look diseased. Do not allow spent flowers to fall to the ground.
  19. Order seeds now so you will be ready next month to start spring annuals.
  20. Begin to select fruit and nut plant, for a winter planting.
  21. Prepare soils and beds for planting bare-rooted roses in January and February. Roses prefer a raised bed in well prepared soils that contain generous amounts of organic materials. Locate the rose planting to receive at least a half-day’s sun, and good air circulation.
  22. Provide fresh water and feed for garden birds.
  23. Expect yellowing and leaf drop on tropical plants such as bougainvillea and Chinese hibiscus, etc. when over-wintering. Maintain healthy stems and roots. Plan to prune back when taken out-of-doors again in the spring to encourage new growth and blooms. Keep plants a little on the dry side and provide as much natural light as possible.

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