Seasonal Gardening Calendar
Time to pick a Christmas tree. The fewer green needles that come off in your hand when pulled, the better the tree. To protect your bulbs foliage from the cold, spread some pine straws.
DECEMBER Week 1
December Shopping List
Continue to spot-spray or dig out chickweed, violets and wild onions you find in your lawn.
Rake the last of the leaves
Rake the last of the fall leaves from your lawn. If you leave a pile of wet, matted leaves now you’ll have big dead spots next spring.
Choose a Christmas tree…
When choosing a cut Christmas tree, gently pull a branch through your fingers. Few, if any, green needles should come off in your hand.
See Selecting a Christmas Tree
Plan a fun family outing to cut your own Christmas tree! Tree farms supply saws, wagons and free wrapping for your soon-to-be-tinseled timber. For a list of farms, visit the Georgia Christmas Tree Growers Web site
…or a houseplant
Celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights, by giving a houseplant – the gift that keeps on giving!
See Light Needed for Houseplants
Install bermuda sod
Bermuda sod can be planted if it is available but be sure to water it regularly for the rest of winter to keep it from drying out.
Keep holiday plants cool
Keep holiday plants in the coolest indoor spot possible. Otherwise the flowers and leaves will drop prematurely.
See Poinsettia Care
Potect your bulbs
Sprinkle pine straw over bulb foliage that has emerged too soon. The green leaves won’t be hurt by the cold but the straw will help hide them.
Bring your yard chemicals indoors
Bring containers of liquid bug spray and weed killer indoors and store in a safe place. Freezing can cause chemicals to lose their potency.
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DECEMBER Week 2
Prune evergreen shrubbery
Prune your evergreen shrubbery and bring the cuttings indoors. Juniper, holly and magnolia foliage is quite decorative. Use holly and nandina berries for a red accent in table centerpieces.
see Plants with Colorful Fruits and Berries
Poinsettias do not need fertilizing now but they do need watering. Check the dryness of the soil daily to keep them looking their brilliant best.
Prune your trees
Prune short stubs and dead limbs from trees now that all the leaves are gone.
see Pruning Trees
Clean or propagate houseplants
A good job for dreary winter days is to clean or propagate your houseplants. Both are easy to do.
see Cleaning and Propagating Houseplants
Check on your ficus plants
Ficus plants that lose leaves are reacting to insufficient light or a drafty site. Can you move yours to a better place in your house?
see Ficus Care
Check on your holiday plants too
Poke holes in the foil wrapping on pots of holiday plants and set them in individual saucers. Otherwise accumulated water will cause root rot.
DECEMBER Week 3
Fill your bird feeder
Bird feeders bring lots of colorful activity to a yard in cold weather. Most bird experts recommend black oil sunflower seed for general feeding. Thistle seed and suet cakes attract birds you might not have seen before.
see Feeding Birds
Bring a houseplant to the party
Rather than a bottle of wine, bring a houseplant as a gift to holiday parties. Amaryllis, ornamental pepper, Christmas cactus or kalanchoe will be appreciated for weeks to come.
Pull mulch away from tree trunks
Pull mulch at least six inches away from tree trunks. Many professional landscapers pile it high and don’t pull it back – setting a bad example for all of us.
Water new trees and shrubs
Water trees and shrubs you planted this fall. Evergreen plants in particular need regular watering, even in cold weather. Apply 1 gallon per foot of height.
Winterize your mower
Don’t leave your lawn mower out in the rain. Water can get in the gas tank and prevent starting next spring. It is best to drain the tank completely or run the mower until it is out of gas.
DECEMBER Week 4
You might need these
Buy some African violets
Purchase pots of paperwhite narcissus, African violet or gloxinia for your office and home to bring color and maybe a touch of perfume to the air.
Water your Christmas tree
Forget the powders and potions! What a Christmas tree needs to stay fresh is a constant supply of water around its base.
Plant woody vines
Plant woody vines like Carolina jessamine, wisteria and cross vine now. Make sure to place them next to a sturdy arbor and loosely tie the young vine to it with twine.
Tend to your houseplants
Houseplants don’t need many nutrients in the winter. Use houseplant fertilizer at half strength. Don’t water them unless the soil feels dry one inch deep.
Tidy up your amaryllis
Remove the faded blooms and bloom stalks from amaryllis but allow the leaves to remain. Water only when the soil feels dry.
Scatter fireplace ashes over your lawn
Fireplace ashes can be scattered over your lawn. They will provide a bit of phosphorus and potassium plus counteract soil acidity. Spread no more than ten lb. per 1000 square feet every six months.