December Gardening Tips

Just because it’s December doesn’t mean the gardening has stopped. Here’s some helpful tips to keep your indoor plants and outdoor garden looking their best:

Rake the last of the fall leaves from your lawn. Wet, matted leaves now leads to dead, brown spots in the spring.

Take advantage of the brown of your dormant grass. It makes spotting chickweed, violets, and wild onions easier to spot so you can continue to spot-spray or dig them out.

Pull mulch at least 6 inches away from tree trunks but make sure your flower beds have plenty of pine straw or mulch. The green leaves of bulb foliage emerging too early during the warm spurts Georgia sometimes enjoys won’t hurt them, but the cold will as soon as the temperature drops again. Keep them well insulated and covered.

December is the best month to get pruning. Spend some time cutting back your trees (especially maples and birches) vines, shrubs and fruit trees. If you haven’t done so already, cut back rose bushes. It’s also the perfect time to prune or trim your evergreen shrubbery. Bring the cuttings indoors. Juniper, holly, nandina berries, and magnolia foliage is quite decorative and can spread a great holiday scent through your home.

On the dreary winter days, stay indoors and propagate your houseplants. Ficus plants that lose leaves are reacting to insufficient light or drafty site. Can you move yours to a better place in your home?

Be sure to water your poinsettias. They don’t need fertilizer but they do need their soil kept moist. Check daily.

Poke holes in the foil wrapping on holidays potted plants and set them in individual saucers. Water accumulating in the bottom can rot the roots.

Even in cold weather, evergreen plants in particular need watering. Anything you planted this fall especially needs a good drink on a regular basis to make it through the winter. Good rule of thumb: apply 1 gallon per foot of height.

Plant woody vines like Carolina jessamine, wisteria, and cross vine now. Make sure you support the young vines by tying with twine to a sturdy arbor.

Fireplace ashes can be scattered on your lawn for a bit of extra phosphorous and potassium to counteract soil acidity. Spread no more than 10 lbs. per 1,000 square feet every six months.

Add a bird feeder for some extra color and activity in your yard. Black oil sunflower seed is great for general feeding, but thistle seed and suet cakes will attract birds you may not have seen before.


Posted in Landscape & Garden.

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