In December, many of us turn our attention to the holidays, to lights and wreaths and cheerful displays that will chase away the darkness of the short, cold days.
Late December marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, and we officially turn the corner into the season of winter.
Gardeners begin to find some rest in December, and if you’re like me, the fireplace beckons more loudly than the yard.
Nonetheless, on sunny days it’s good to get outdoors and to take care of a few gardening chores during the month.
Shrubs and Trees
- In zones 8 and higher, protect your tender citrus trees and ornamental shrubs from a surprise frost by covering them with burlap or other fabric.
Drape the fabric over wooden stakes or a simple frame to keep it from coming in contact with the leaves of the plant. Remove the covering as soon as the weather warms.
- Prune dormant trees and shrubs, and winter-flowering shrubs after they finish blooming.
- Take cuttings to root indoors.
- In zones 7 and warmer, apply dormant spray to take care of overwintering insect eggs.
- In zones 9 and warmer, you can plant bare-root trees and shrubs, roses, and fruit trees.
- If you planted new trees this fall, inspect the stakes and guy wires to make sure they’re still straight and firm.
- Firmly stake leggy shrubs and saplings to prevent breakage in winter weather.
- Gently remove snow from boughs only if it is heavy enough to threaten breakage – otherwise, leave it for insulation. Do not attempt to remove ice.
- Water plants if there has been insufficient rain, or if your plants are protected under eaves or larger trees.