Garden tips for December
By Ray Ridlen
--Keep all plants watered during dry conditions even though some may be dormant.
--Irrigate all plantings at least 24 hours before hard-freezing weather if soil is dry.
--Order garden supplies for next season.
--Design and make structural improvements in the garden and landscape.
--Christmas gift ideas for the gardener might include tools, garden books, magazine subscriptions, educational tapes or membership to botanical gardens.
--Clean and fill bird feeders.
--Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light or set up an indoor fluorescent plant light.
--Garden plots without a cover crop should be tilled to further expose garden pests to harsh winter conditions.
--Visit county office to obtain gardening fact sheets for the new gardening season.
--Review garden records and correct past mistakes. Purchase a new gardening journal or calendar to keep the new year's gardening records.
Lawn and turf
--Remove leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower.
--Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis.
--Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm or cool season lawns with a post-emergence broadleaf weed killer
Trees and shrubs
--Select a freshly cut Christmas tree. Make a new cut prior to placing in tree stand. Add water daily.
--Live Christmas trees are a wise investment, as they become permanent additions to the landscape after the holidays.
--Light prunings of evergreens can be used for holiday decorations. Be careful with sap that can mar surfaces.
--Apply winter mulch to protect rose bush bud unions and other perennials. Wait until after several early freezes to avoid giving insects a place to winter.
--Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright, indirect light daily. Keep plants away from drafts.
Fruits and nuts
--Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3 to 4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury.
--Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March.