Is Jack Frost Nipping At Your Nose Yet? - December Gardening Tips
Welcome to December gardening! It's a little different than in the spring, but there is still plenty to do. Winter is at our doorsteps and it’s time to help put our gardens to sleep and set them up for a successful springtime!
“The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.”
– Terri Guillemets
Check these December gardening tips off your to-do lists. If you missed our tips last month, you can find them here.
Garden Tools & Equipment
“I prefer winter and fall when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”
– Andrew Wyeth
Winter is here, so make sure this garden tool list has been checked off!
- Drain the hoses and put them away. If you left them outside and they froze, then wait for a warm day, stretch them out, let them drain, and then pull them into a shed or garage.
- The fuel in power equipment should be used up or drained; change the spark plugs and sharpen the blades.
- Clean, oil and sharpen hand tools.
- Store all tools indoors to keep them from rusting.
- Order seed catalogs and review your garden journal.
What’s a garden journal?
Garden journals are where you can keep track of all things garden related throughout the year. Note in your journal what is working and what is not working. For example, in your vegetable garden, perhaps you notice that one type of tomato is thriving and another is not. Maybe you note that around the beginning of July, your squash plant developed powdery mildew. Taking these notes will help you be better prepared for next year.
A journal is also a great way to remember and plan ahead for plants you want to try out next year. Maybe you saw flowers in a neighbor's yard or a beautiful plant in the park. Write those down and come next spring you can either start them from seed or find them at your local garden center.
Trees and Shrubs
“It seems like everything sleeps in winter, but it’s really a time of renewal and reflection.”
– Elizabeth Camden
- Trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, should be watered heavily going into winter. They should be watered regularly during the winter, at least once per month, or twice if it is a dry winter.
- Deep soak any plants that may be in the rain shadow of other plants or buildings (meaning the rain won’t land on the soil above their root system).
- If you have shrubs or trees that need to be moved, this would be the best time to do so.
- Apply antitranspirants, such as Wilt-Pruf, to evergreen trees and shrubs to prevent moisture loss during drying winter weather.
- Wrap evergreen shrubs like arborvitae and upright junipers to protect them from breaking and bending with a heavy snow load. Burlap tree wrap or jute twine works well for this.
- Prevent salt damage to trees and shrubs by using ice melter substitutes like sand.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
- Plant your bulbs if you have not had a chance to do so.
- Clean up all debris and leaves around roses. Dispose of leaves if your roses had any disease problems. Do not compost diseased leaves.
- Mulch your roses to protect the graft union during the cold winter months.
- Roses should be pruned if they are overgrown and are vulnerable to breakage from snow load. Your heavy pruning should be done in the spring when the leaf buds start to swell.
We have beautiful amaryllis bulbs in stock now and some are already blooming! Not only are amaryllis beautiful when they bloom, but they're a wonderful investment because they'll re-bloom again next year. All you have to do is properly store them once they are done blossoming this year!
These incredible blossoms can show off for 6-10 weeks and make such a beautiful addition for the holidays and into the new year.
“Of all the months of the year, there is not a month one half so welcome to the young, or so full of happy associations, as the last month of the year.”
– Charles Dickens
- Stop feeding fish if you haven’t already.
- Cut back aquatic plant leaves if you haven’t already.
- Remove any organic debris that falls into your pond, like leaves and twigs.
Happy December gardening and remember to check back next month for January tips. Can you believe 2022 is almost over?
For more pointers, check out our Seasonal Tips page.